SINGAPORE: Oil prices edged higher on Monday from multi-month lows as investor appetite improved on U.S. employment data and Chinese exports that eased recession fears .
Brent crude futures were up 22 cents, or 0.2%, at $95.14 a barrel at 0439 GMT.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was at $89.18 a barrel, up 17 cents, or 0.2%. Both contracts were settled higher on Friday after job growth in the United States, the world’s largest consumer of oil, unexpectedly accelerated in July.
On Sunday, China also surprised markets with faster-than-expected export growth.
Signs of weak demand for U.S. stocks last week had encouraged trading on the basis of a weakening outlook, said Stephen Innes, managing director of SPI Asset Management.
But employment and export data have somewhat overturned that view, he added.
First-month Brent prices hit the lowest levels since February last week, falling 13.7% and posting their biggest weekly drop since April 2020, while WTI lost 9.7%, worries regarding a recession hitting oil demand weighing on prices.
China, the world’s largest crude importer, imported 8.79 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude in July, down from a four-year low in June, but still 9.5% lower than a year earlier , according to customs data.
Chinese refiners reduced inventories amid high crude prices and low domestic margins, even as the country’s overall exports gained momentum.
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Reflecting lower gasoline demand in the United States, and as China’s zero-COVID strategy pushes the recovery further, ANZ has revised down its 2022 and 2023 oil demand forecast by 300,000 bpd and 500,000 bpd, respectively.
Oil demand for 2022 is now expected to rise by 1.8 million bpd year-on-year to 99.7 million bpd, just below pre-pandemic highs, the bank said.
Russian exports of crude oil and petroleum products have continued to flow despite an impending embargo by the European Union which will come into effect on December 5.
In the United States, energy companies last week reduced the number of oil rigs the most since September.
It was the first drop in 10 weeks. The U.S. clean energy sector got a boost after the Senate on Sunday passed a $430 billion bill to tackle climate change, among other things.