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Oil prices edge higher on relaxed China COVID curbs, tight supplies

Brent crude futures were up 19 cents, or 0.2%, at $119.70 barrel at 0050 GMT.

June 07, 2022 / 07:11 AM IST
Oil pumping jacks, also known as

Oil pumping jacks, also known as "nodding donkeys", in an oilfield near Neftekamsk, in the Republic of Bashkortostan, Russia, on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. The flaring coronavirus outbreak will be a key issue for OPEC+ when it meets next. Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

Oil prices inched higher on Tuesday on expected demand recovery in China as it relaxed tough COVID curbs and doubts a higher output target by OPEC+ producers would ease tight supply.

Brent crude futures were up 19 cents, or 0.2%, at $119.70 barrel at 0050 GMT.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 25 cents, or 0.2%, at $118.75 a barrel. The benchmark hit a three-month high of $120.99 on Monday.

Easing travel restrictions in China are expected to boost demand for oil in the coming weeks, analysts from ANZ Research said in a note.

Beijing and the commercial hub Shanghai have been returning to normal in recent days after two months of painful lockdowns to stem outbreaks of the Omicron variant. Traffic bans were lifted and restaurants were opened for dine-in service on Monday in most parts of Beijing.

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia raised the July official selling price (OSP) for its flagship Arab light crude to Asia by $2.10 from June to a $6.50 premium over Oman/Dubai quotes, just off an all-time peak recorded in May when prices hit highs due to worries of disruptions in Russian supplies.

Last week, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, together called OPEC+, decided to boost output for July and August by 648,000 barrels per day, or 50% more than previously planned.

The increased target was spread across all OPEC+ members. However, many members have little room to ramp up output, including Russia, which faces Western sanctions.

"While the new increased monthly targets continue to be driven by proportional contributions from all participants (including Russia), it is unrealistic to expect an increase close to the headline figure," said Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management, in a note.

U.S. crude inventories likely fell last week, while gasoline and distillate stockpiles were seen up, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Monday.

first published: Jun 7, 2022 07:11 am