Oil prices climb on hopes of China demand recovery (Update)


Brent crude futures were up $1.15, or 1.0%, at $113.08 a barrel at 0042 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures climbed $1.62, or 1.4%, to $114.02 a barrel, paring some losses after oil prices fell by around 2% in the previous session.

SINGAPORE: Oil prices rose more than $1 a barrel in early Asian trade on Wednesday on hopes of demand recovery in China as the country gradually eases some of its strict COVID-19 containment measures.

Brent crude futures were up $1.15, or 1.0%, at $113.08 a barrel at 0042 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures climbed $1.62, or 1.4%, to $114.02 a barrel, paring some losses after oil prices fell by around 2% in the previous session.

Shanghai achieved its long-awaited milestone of three consecutive days with no new COVID-19 cases outside quarantine zones on Tuesday and set out plans on Monday for ending a lockdown that has lasted more than six weeks.

"Beyond the near term, less awful news on China offers a nip in the tail in the form of much higher oil demand and prices, which is positive for producers, but harmful for consumer sentiment," SPI Asset Management managing director Stephen Innes said in a client note.

U.S. crude and gasoline stocks fell last week, market sources said citing American Petroleum Institute figures on Tuesday. U.S. government data is due on Wednesday.

Oil price falls 2% on Powell comments, hopes for Venezuela supply

After hitting seven-week highs, oil prices slumped 2% on Tuesday as Reuters reported that the United States could ease some restrictions on Venezuela's government, raising hopes that the market could see some additional supplies.

Prices also fell after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned the economy could be hurt by attempts to reduce inflation.

For the first time since May 2020, the Brent international benchmark settled below U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude. Refiners worldwide have scrambled to find alternative energy supplies after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. U.S. reserves are falling and that has raised the price for U.S.-based crudes, said Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston.

Brent crude LCOc1 fell $2.31, or 2%, to settle at $111.93 a barrel, and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 fell $1.8, or 1.6%, to settle at $112.40 a barrel.

Powell suggested there could be some economic pain involved in bringing inflation down. The U.S. central bank will "keep pushing" to tighten U.S. monetary policy until it is clear that inflation is declining, he said. Read full story

"Some of those comments tempered buying enthusiasm on the oil side," said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group.

U.S. President Joe Biden's administration will authorize U.S. oil company Chevron Corp CVX.N to negotiate with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government as soon as Tuesday, Reuters reported, citing sources. There is no final U.S. decision yet on renewing Chevron's current limited license to operate in Venezuela, the source said. Read full story

Oil prices have generally been rising as Russian supply is squeezed by bans from several countries and an economic downturn due to broad sanctions on Moscow imposed by the United States and allies.

Russia's production dropped by 9% in April, and the country, part of the OPEC+ group, produced far below levels required under a deal to gradually ease record output cuts made during the worst of the pandemic in 2020. Read full story

This month, non-Russian deliveries into the Polish port of Gdansk hit the highest in at least seven years, as refiners in eastern Germany and Poland switched. Read full story

"Ultimately, this is a supply-side story," said Fawad Razaqzada, analyst at City Index. "Unless OPEC and its allies ramp up production and fast, it is difficult to see how prices can go down meaningfully."

EU foreign ministers failed on Monday in their effort to pressure Hungary to lift its veto on the proposed oil embargo. But some diplomats now point to a May 30-31 summit as the moment for agreement on a phased ban on Russian oil. Read full story

U.S. crude and gasoline stocks fell last week, according to market sources citing American Petroleum Institute figures on Tuesday. U.S. government data is due on Wednesday.- Reuters

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