Mar 2, 2023
Oil edges higher as China demand hopes vies with inflation fears
We expect this year's average oil price to be US$10 higher than where we are right now: Economist
Oil extended gains for a third straight day amid evidence of China’s rebound and fresh signals the Federal Reserve may pause interest-rate hikes this summer.
Crude got a boost as macro winds shifted late in the session Thursday with dovish comments from Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic. Confidence in China’s robust rebound has supported oil prices while traders contend with fears that inflationary pressures will slow growth in the U.S. and EU.
A key market gauge pointed toward a consensus emerging that demand will tighten the market with Brent’s prompt timespread widening to the strongest since November.
“We’ve got oil a little bit higher here and to me, increasingly, we’re looking hopeful toward recovery in China,” said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategy at TD Securities.
The narrow price band so far in March follows oil’s smallest monthly range since the middle of 2021. Prices have struggled for traction as an oversupply in the first quarter of the year vies with the belief that the market will strengthen in the coming months.
- WTI for April delivery rose 47 cents to settle at US$78.16 a barrel in New York.
- Brent for May settlement rose 44 cents to US$84.75 a barrel.