Oil prices fell today, Monday, at the beginning of trading, due to the Lunar New Year holiday in East Asia, but they maintained most of the gains they made last week, supported by the possibility of an economic recovery in China, the largest oil importer, this year.
Brent crude futures fell 46 cents, or 0.5%, to $87.17, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 36 cents, also down 0.4%, to $81.28 a barrel. Last week, Brent rose 2.8%, while US crude rose 1.8%.
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The data shows a strong recovery in travel in China after the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, indicating a 22% increase in road traffic so far this month compared to the previous year in 15 major cities in the country.
International Energy Agency chief Fatih Birol said on Friday that energy markets could be undersupplied this year if China’s economy rebounds in the way financial institutions expect it to.
The EU-G7 alliance will cap Russian refined product prices from February 5, in addition to the alliance’s cap on Russian crude oil prices since December and the EU’s ban on Russian crude imports by sea. The Group of Seven agreed to postpone the review of the level of the Russian oil price ceiling to March, a month after the originally scheduled date, to give an opportunity to assess the consequences of imposing a ceiling on the prices of oil products.