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Oil jumps to 13-week high

Reuters . Singapore
09 Jun 2022 10:59:19 | Update: 09 Jun 2022 11:29:08
Oil jumps to 13-week high
The Homer Ferrington gas drilling rig, operated by Noble Energy and drilling in an offshore block on concession from the Cypriot government, is seen during President Demetris Christofias' visit in the east Mediterranean, Nicosia on November 21, 2011 — Reuters Photo

Oil prices held firm near 13-week highs on Thursday after China reported stronger-than-expected exports in May, although new Shanghai lockdown restrictions capped gains.

Brent crude futures for August rose 35 cents, or 0.3 per cent, to $123.93 a barrel at 0404 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate crude for July was at $122.35 a barrel, up 24 cents, or 0.2 per cent.

Both benchmarks closed Wednesday at their highest since March 8, matching levels seen in 2008.

China's exports jumped 16.9 per cent from a year earlier as easing Covid curbs allowed some factories to restart, the fastest growth since January this year, and more than double analysts' expectations for an 8.0 per cent rise. Exports were up 3.9 per cent in April.

However, parts of Shanghai began imposing new lockdown restrictions on Thursday, with residents of sprawling Minhang district ordered to stay home for two days in a bid to control Covid-19 transmission risks.

"The export performance is impressive in the context of the country's multi-city lockdowns in the month," Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management, said in a note Thursday.

"Still, the apparent negative feedback loop is there is less incentive for the authorities to move away from 'zero Covid' soon," Innes said, adding that this was a bit of a saw-off for oil markets.

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Meanwhile, peak summer gasoline demand in the United States continued to provide a floor to prices.

The US posted a record fall in strategic crude reserves even as commercial stocks rose last week, data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed on Wednesday.

US gasoline stocks unexpectedly dropped, indicating resilience in demand for the motor fuel during peak summer despite sky-high pump prices.

"It's hard to see significant downside in the coming months, with the gasoline market likely to only tighten further as we move deeper into driving season," said ING's head of commodities research Warren Patterson.

EIA's data showed that apparent demand for all oil products in the United States rose to 19.5 million barrels per day (bpd) while gasoline demand rose to 8.98 million bpd, ANZ analysts said in a note.

Efforts by OPEC+ oil producers to boost output are "not encouraging", UAE Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said on Wednesday, noting the group was currently 2.6 million bpd short of its target.