Brent, WTI Prices Remain Steady

Brent, WTI Prices Remain SteadyBrent, WTI Prices Remain Steady

Oil prices edged higher on Friday but were set to end the week broadly steady as sluggish economic growth in China, the world’s biggest crude importer, raised concerns about fuel demand and countered optimism from the signing of a China-US trade deal.
The world’s second-largest economy grew by 6.1% in 2019, its slowest expansion in 29 years, government data showed on Friday, CNBC reported.
“A well-expected fourth-quarter China GDP rate (6%) provided little clue for oil price trading on Friday morning, and mounting downward economic pressure will perhaps limit oil’s upside in the mid- to long-term,” said Margaret Yang, market analyst at CMC Markets. 
Brent crude futures were up 44 cents at $65.06. US West Texas Intermediate futures were up 35 cents at $58.87 a barrel. 
Oil rose on Thursday after China and the United States signed their Phase 1 trade accord.The mood was further boosted after the US Senate approved changes to the US-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement.
Surging Chinese demand as seen in refinery throughput figures offset the less positive economic growth data. 
In 2019, Chinese refineries processed 651.98 million tons of crude oil, equal to a record high 13.04 million barrels per day, and up 7.6% from 2018, government data showed. Throughput also set a monthly record for December. 
“The increase in China’s refinery capacity is reshaping the trade flows of refined products, while the increase in US crude oil production is reshaping the trade flows of crude oil,” Olivier Jakob of consultancy Petromatrix said. 


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