Oil rises as China considers easing COVID restrictions

  • Report: China is considering reducing quarantine time for visitors
  • Looming EU embargo on Russian oil, supportive OPEC+ cuts
  • US oil reserve sales plan fails to bring prices down

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices rose on Thursday on news that China is considering easing COVID-19 quarantine measures for visitors, raising hopes of increasing energy demand in the world’s largest oil importer.

Brent crude futures rose six cents to $92.47 a barrel by 12:58 pm EST (1658 GMT).

US West Texas Intermediate crude for November delivery, which expires on Thursday, was up 95 cents at $86.50 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate crude for December delivery was up 30 cents at $84.82 a barrel.

Register now to get free unlimited access to Reuters.com

Beijing is considering reducing the quarantine period for visitors to seven days from ten days, Bloomberg News reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter. Read more

“This is seen as a positive demand indicator for the market,” said Bob Yoger, director of energy futures at Mizuho in New York.

China, the world’s largest importer of crude, has adhered to the severe restrictions of Covid this year, which severely affected trade and economic activity, which led to a decrease in demand for fuel.

Also supporting prices were an imminent European Union ban on Russian crude and oil products, as well as production cuts from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia, known as OPEC+.

OPEC+ agreed to cut production by 2 million barrels per day in early October.

Separately, US President Joe Biden announced a plan Wednesday to sell the remainder of his release from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) by the end of the year, or 15 million barrels of oil, and begin refilling the stock as he attempts high damping. Gasoline prices ahead of the mid-term elections on November 8.

See also  Dow rises, big tech firms falter: What's next for stocks as investors await Fed guidance

However, the announcement failed to ease oil prices, as official US data showed that the Strategic Petroleum Reserve fell last week to its lowest level since mid-1984, while commercial oil stocks fell unexpectedly.

Meanwhile, global fuel demand remains uncertain. The Federal Reserve (the US central bank) said on Wednesday in its report that US economic activity expanded modestly in recent weeks, although it held steady in some areas and declined in others, showing increasing corporate pessimism about the outlook.

Register now to get free unlimited access to Reuters.com

(Reporting by Stephanie Kelly in New York; Additional reporting by Ahmed Ghaddar in London and Emily Chow in Singapore. Editing by Margarita Choi, Kirsten Donovan and David Gregorio

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *