Oil nudges higher after China opens borders, lifts fuel demand outlook

Oil&Gas Materials 9 January 2023 09:24 (UTC +04:00)
Oil nudges higher after China opens borders, lifts fuel demand outlook

Oil prices edged up on Monday, a day after travellers streamed into China following a reopening of borders that lifted the fuel demand outlook and partly offset concerns of global recession, Trend reports with reference to Reuters.

Brent crude futures had risen 53 cents, or 0.7%, to $79.10 a barrel by 0114 GMT while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was at $74.23 a barrel, up 46 cents, or 0.6%.

Hopes for less-aggressive U.S. interest rate rises are buoying financial markets and depressing the dollar. A weaker greenback makes dollar-denominated commodities more affordable for investors holding other currencies.

Both Brent and WTI tumbled more than 8% last week, their biggest weekly dives at the start of a year since 2016.

"Crude oil futures had their biggest weekly losses in a month due to recession fears as oil prices have been positively correlated with inflation since 2022, though China's reopening may buffer the decline in the near term," CMC Markets analyst Tina Teng said in a note.

China, the world's second-biggest oil consumer, opened its borders on Saturday for the first time in three years, buoying the outlook for its demand for transportation fuels.

Domestically, some 2 billion trips are expected during the Lunar New Year season, nearly double last year's movement and recovering to 70% of 2019 levels, Beijing says.

However, concerns remain that the massive flow of travellers may cause another surge in infections and cap recovery in China's economic activity.

Energy futures for crude oil, refined products and natural gas have plummeted in the New Year as traders have reconsidered near-term worries over cold weather and fears of supply shortages and dumped contracts.

Last week, U.S. energy firms cut the number of operating oil and natural gas rigs by seven, the biggest weekly decline since September 2021, energy services firm Baker Hughes Co said on Friday.