Oil prices rise amid increasing demand from leading global consumers

Oil prices experienced a surge on Friday, buoyed by evidence of increased demand in the United States and China, which rank as the globe’s largest oil consumers.

Brent crude, the international standard, saw its price rise to $83.62 per barrel by mid-morning, marking a 0.80% increase from the previous session’s closing price of $82.96. Meanwhile, West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the American standard, ascended to $79.73 per barrel, reflecting a 1.01% uplift from its last close at $78.93.

The price hike was partly fueled by a notable uptick in gasoline demand in the US, acknowledged as the world’s top oil consumer. This was reflected in a significant decrease in gasoline and distillate fuel oil stocks, which dropped by approximately 4.5 million and 4.1 million barrels, respectively, as per the Energy Information Administration’s data. The decline in inventories exceeded market forecasts, pointing to robust demand within the US.

Moreover, China, recognized as the world’s foremost crude importer and the second-largest oil consumer, reported a 5.1% increase in crude oil imports during the year’s first two months compared to the same period last year, data from the General Administration of Customs revealed. This suggests a resurgence in demand following economic downturns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, oil prices were supported by remarks from US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who hinted that interest rate cuts might be on the horizon, suggesting a nearer than anticipated shift in monetary policy. Powell noted that they are close to having the confidence to ease policy, emphasizing the risks associated with delaying rate reductions.–Web Desk