Oil prices rise, but Chinese demand worries linger


Oil prices rose on Friday in thin market liquidity, closing a week marked by worries about Chinese demand and haggling over a Western price cap on Russian oil.

Brent crude futures were up 92 cents, or 1.1%, to trade at $86.26 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up $1.27, or 1.6%, at $79.21 a barrel.

There was no WTI settlement on Thursday due to the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday and trading volumes remained low.

Both contracts were still headed for their third consecutive weekly declines after hitting 10-month lows this week.

Brent’s market structure implies current demand is soft, with backwardation, defined by front-month prices trading above contracts for later delivery, having weakened markedly in recent sessions .

For the two-month spread , Brent’s structure even dipped into contango this week, implying oversupply with near-term delivery contracts priced below later deliveries.

China, the world’s top oil importer, on Friday reported a new daily record for Covid 19 infections,  as cities across the country continued to enforce mobility measures and other curbs to control outbreaks.

Meanwhile, G7 and European Union diplomats have been discussing a Russian oil price cap between $65 and $70 a barrel, but an agreement has still not been reached.

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