Oil steadies as traders look to China to deliver demand boost


Oil steadied as traders waited for fresh signals on the state of Chinese crude demand after the nation ditched Covid curbs.

West Texas Intermediate for March delivery was little changed above $81 a barrel after swinging between gains and losses on Monday. Futures trading volumes are likely to remain subdued during Asian hours, with many investors across the region on breaks to mark the Lunar New Year.

Oil has been driven higher over the past two weeks on expectations that the swift pivot in the world’s largest crude importer may spur daily consumption to hit a record in 2023 as mobility and industrial activity pick up. Traders are also tracking the impact of tighter curbs on Russian energy flows imposed by the European Union and US following the invasion of Ukraine.

“Signs of positive fundamentals across most commodity markets helped boost sentiment,” Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. said in a daily note. “Optimism on demand from China’s reopening is strong.”

  • WTI for March delivery was 0.1% higher at $81.71 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 12:02 p.m. in Singapore.
  • Brent for March settlement added 1 cent to $88.20 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Later Tuesday, traders will get an insight into movements in US inventories with estimates due from the American Petroleum Institute. Over the past two weeks, nationwide commercial stockpiles expanded by more than 27 million barrels, hitting the highest since June 2021, according to government figures.

© 2023 Bloomberg

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