Oil Steadies as Traders Look to China to Deliver Demand Boost

Jan 24, 2023 by Bloomberg
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A pumpjack is silhouetted as it operates in Baku, Azerbaijan, on Sunday, March 18, 2018. Two years after descending into junk, Azerbaijan's shortest path to winning back its investment grade is by rebuilding the stash of petrodollars it raided during a recession and a banking meltdown, according to Fitch Ratings. Photograph: Taylor Weidman/Bloomberg Photographer: Taylor Weidman/Bloomberg

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.”

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.

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By Jake Lloyd-Smith

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