Oil Tops $46

Oil Tops $46Oil Tops $46

Oil prices were largely unchanged on Friday after both price benchmarks Brent and WTI rose more than 4% on Thursday following upbeat remarks by Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih that the kingdom is willing to help stabilize oil prices during a meeting in Algeria next month.

Brent crude futures rose 10 cents to $46.14 per barrel, retreating from a three-week high of $46.66 earlier in the day. US West Texas Intermediate crude stood at $43.51 a barrel, up 2 cents after touching its highest since July 25, at $44.17 per barrel.

Traders said a drop of 8.1% in China's oil output in July, to a five-year low of 16.72 million tons, also lifted prices because it would mean Asia's biggest economy has to import more crude.

However, China's implied oil demand fell 0.1% from a year ago to 10.11 million barrels per day, its lowest since August 2014.

Despite the output fall in China, the world's biggest energy consumer, the market impact is mixed as its refined product exports are increasing.

"To be bullish, there would also need to be a drop in refining output," Jakob of Petromatrix said.

Oil prices are still more than 12% below their last peak in June, as brimming storage tanks and production that exceeds consumption weigh on markets.

AB Bernstein said global oil production rose almost 0.8 million barrels per day in July from the previous month, to 97.01 million bpd, while commercial inventories increased by 5.7 million barrels to 3.09 billion barrels in June.