Petrobarometer

Oil price rises to $95 a barrel as China eases COVID-19 curbs

Author:
Bunmi Aduloju

Oil prices jumped on Friday after health authorities in China, top crude importer, eased tight COVID-19 rules.

At 09.00 GMT+1, Brent crude futures rose 2.34 percent to $95.87 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures gained 2.61 percent to $88.77 a barrel.

Years after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, China has been stuck with tight curtailment measures following heightened reported cases in parts of the country. 

On Friday, China eased some of its COVID-19 curbsincluding shortening quarantine times for close contacts of cases and inbound travellers by two days as well as scrapping a penalty on airlines for bringing in infected passengers.

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Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management, told Reuters that oil traders applauded the news. 

“The key for oil markets is to continue watching developments closely for this and further marginal positive changes in the government’s zero-COVID stance,” he said.

Innes said the move towards loosening the COVID-zero policy would provide a springboard for oil markets, given that lockdowns hurt mobility and oil prices more than economic activity. 

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Prices also picked up after milder-than-expected US inflation data reinforced hopes that the Federal Reserve will slow down rate hikes. 

US inflation moderated to 7.7 percent in October — from 8.2 percent in September. 

A weaker US dollar also supported oil prices as it makes the commodity cheaper for buyers holding other currencies.

For months, Nigeria has been witnessing record-low levels of crude oil production, losing its place as Africa’s largest crude importer. 

In October, oil output bounced back, rising above the 1 million mark for the first time in three months.

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