Oil prices rise, supported by strong Chinese data and tension in the Middle East

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Singapore: Oil prices rose on Tuesday, as data from China showed an increase in the growth of imports of the second largest oil consumer in the world, as well as tension in the Middle East after the Houthi movement in Yemen said it fired shells at Saudi oil sites.

By 0356 GMT, Brent crude futures were up 31 cents, equivalent to 0.5 percent, to $ 63.59 a barrel, while US crude futures increased 28 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $ 59.98 a barrel.

China’s exports increased at the fastest pace in March, in a new impetus for the country’s economic recovery, with growing global demand in light of progress in vaccination of Covid-19 vaccines around the world, while import growth jumped to a four-year high.

China’s imports of crude oil jumped 21 percent in March, from a low comparison basis for the same period a year ago, as refiners intensified activity amid strength in fuel demand with a decline in the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The data … indicate a domestic recovery that could be positive for gasoline demand (and) oil prices themselves rose after the issuance,” said Stephen Ins, senior global market analyst at Axi.

Also supporting prices, US crude oil inventories are expected to decline last week for the third time in a row, while gasoline and distillate inventories are likely to increase, according to a preliminary Reuters poll conducted on Monday.

The Yemeni Houthi movement, allied with Iran, said yesterday that it launched 17 drones and two ballistic missiles towards Saudi targets, including facilities for Aramco oil company in Jubail and Jeddah, but no confirmation has yet been issued from Saudi Arabia.





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