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Stronger Chinese Oil Imports May Send WTI Above $80


Crude oil futures are in a position to close higher for the week after recovering from earlier setbacks. Notably, both Brent and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures reached one-week highs, driven by positive demand signals from China and the U.S. This recent uplift positions the market to potentially break a four-week decline, providing a critical moment for traders monitoring market directions.

US Demand Insights

In the U.S., the crude price gains were moderated by concerning demand data. According to the latest Energy Information Administration report, gasoline and diesel demand last week were at their weakest seasonal levels since the 2020 pandemic. Specifically, the 4-week average demand for gasoline was reported at 8.63 million barrels per day, the lowest start-of-May figure since 2020. For distillate fuels, demand stood at 3.60 million barrels per day. This subdued demand has led to reduced refining margins, with the U.S. 3-2-1 crack spread dropping below $26.50 a barrel, a significant dip from previous months. Additionally, gasoline stocks unexpectedly increased by 915,000 barrels to 228 million barrels, indicating potential oversupply issues.

China's Economic Revival

China's crude oil imports in April surged to 44.72 million metric tons, about 10.88 million barrels per day, marking a 5.45% increase from the previous year. This increase was in anticipation of higher fuel demand during the Labour Day holiday. Despite a broader economic…

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