Oil prices rose on Friday after the United States tightened its sanctions program on Russian crude exports, raising supply concerns in an already tight market, and global inventories are expected to decline in the fourth quarter.
Brent futures were up 50 cents, or 0.6%, at $86.50 a barrel at 03:45 GMT, and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was up 64 cents, or 0.8%, at $83.55 a barrel.
Brent is set for a weekly gain of 2.3%, while WTI is set to climb 0.9% for the week after both contracts surged on Monday on the potential for Middle Eastern exports after Hamas’ attack on Israel over the weekend threatened a possible wider conflict.
Prices gave back some of these gains throughout the week. However, on Thursday, the USA increased the tension with Moscow, which invaded Ukraine. It imposed the first sanctions on tanker owners carrying Russian oil above the G7 ceiling price of $60 per barrel.
Tighter U.S. sanctions on Russian shipments could restrict supply.
Also Thursday, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) maintained its forecast for growth in global oil demand, citing signs that the world economy has been resilient so far this year and expecting demand to rise further in China, the world’s largest oil importer.
Supply-side issues remain key to the crude oil market, with prices seen rising in early trading on Friday due to stronger enforcement of US sanctions.
Sentiment also increased after OPEC said it expected crude inventories to decrease by a million barrels per day in the third quarter. It is assumed here that there are no supply disruptions other than those resulting from the Israel-Hamas war.
Oil prices ignored data released on Friday showing a monthly decline in China’s crude oil imports.
Imports last month were 45.74 million metric tons, or 11.13 million barrels per day, down 10.5% from the August level, which was the third-highest on record.
But September imports were up 14% from the previous year, continuing the trend seen in 2023 when imports significantly exceeded 2022 levels when China’s economy was hit by widespread pandemic restrictions.