Oil prices increased on Thursday on expectations of a demand surge from China , the world’s second-largest oil consumer, as the country ended its zero-COVID policy in a bid to revive the economy.
International benchmark Brent crude traded at $85.20 per barrel at 9.40 a.m. local time ( 0640 GMT ), up 0.13% from the closing price of $85.09 a barrel in the previous trading session.
At the same time, American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded at $78.53 per barrel, a 0.08% rise after the previous session closed at $78.47 a barrel.
The expectations of a demand recovery in China were effective in pushing oil prices higher. International credit rating agency Fitch raised its growth forecast for the Chinese economy this year from 4.1% to 5%.
Fitch stated the upward revision is evidence of a faster-than-anticipated recovery in consumption and economic activity in the country since Chinese authorities abandoned their zero-COVID policy.
Long-term lockdowns and strict restrictions in China have restrained the country’s economic growth since the beginning of the COVID pandemic.
Experts predict an economic rebound in the world’s largest oil importer as life returns to normal with the lifting of travel restrictions. Oil consumption is expected to rise as travel picks up, boosting economic activity.
China lifted COVID restrictions in December, allowing for travel in January.
Meanwhile, a larger-than-expected build in US crude stocks signaled a drop in oil demand, limiting price increases.
US commercial crude oil inventories increased by 0.5% during the week ending Feb. 3 , according to data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) late Wednesday.
Inventories rose by around 2.4 million barrels to 455.1 million barrels, against the market expectation of an increase of around 2.2 million barrels.Read more: Oil up over China’s positive demand outlook [Anadolu Agency (Turkey)]
Source: Anadolu Agency
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