Booming demand will push China ahead of the United States as the world’s biggest crude importer this year.
Oil prices were stable as a fall in US crude inventories was countered by soaring output and a rise in fuel stocks. As Reuters writes in an article “Oil rises 1 percent on China demand, but weekly losses loom”, Brent crude was up 99 cents or 1.6 percent at $63.25 a barrel, but heading for a weekly slide of 0.9 percent.
January West Texas Intermediate crude rose 67 cents, or 1.2%, to settle at $57.36 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Booming demand will push China ahead of the United States as the world’s biggest crude importer this year. Crude oil prices rose Friday amid concerns of supply disruptions from Nigeria, as workers are threatening to strike at a crucial production facility.
Chinese crude oil imports increased to 9.01 million bpd last month-the second highest on record, according to data provided by China’s General Administration of Customs. Bank of America Merrill Lynch, meanwhile, said healthy global demand and tight supplies should see Brent crude oil rise to $70 per barrel by mid-year.
USA investment bank Jefferies forecast 2018 global oil demand growth of 1.5 million bpd, driven by nearly 10 percent demand growth in China. On the supply side, oil prices have been receiving support from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and a group of non-OPEC producers, most importantly Russian Federation, which has been withholding supplies to tighten the market.
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