Chinese data and record US exports support oil prices. Oil prices rebounded from a short sale on Friday, rising $1 more a barrel, and ended the week higher amid renewed optimism about demand from its biggest oil importer, China.
Brent crude futures rose $1.08, or 1.3%, to $85.83 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose $1.52, or 1.9%, to $79.68 a barrel. Both benchmarks recorded their highest closing levels since February 13.
A media report said that with plans to pump more oil, the UAE is having internal discussions about leaving OPEC. Prices fell by more than $2 a barrel in early trading after that but rebounded after the report was said to be “far from the truth” according to other sources.
Brent and WTI posted their third-largest weekly percentage gains this year as strong Chinese economic data fuels hopes for oil demand growth.
Crude is on a volatile course, jolted by rumors of the UAE leaving OPEC+, then reversing sharply, rising when that rumor is contested. A full-blown risk-taking rally.
Service sector activity in China expanded at its fastest pace in six months in February, and manufacturing activity also grew. China’s sea imports of Russian oil will hit a record this month.
According to sources, China, the world’s largest oil importer, has become more ambitious with its 2023 growth target and aims to reach up to 6 percent.
The oil market generally ignored US crude stockpiles growing for the 10th week in a row, with record exports of US crude supporting prices.
The dollar weakened. According to some analysts, the dollar will remain under pressure over the next 12 months, making dollar-denominated oil cheaper for holders of other currencies.
The European Central Bank is still sending hawkish signals, with European Central Bank (ECB) Governing Council member Pierre Wunsch saying that the main interest rate could go as high as 4% if inflation stays high.