Oil prices react as demand concerns linger

FAN Editor

Oil prices moved higher Thursday morning as markets remain concerned about falling demand, especially in China due to COVID-19 restrictions.

China is the world’s biggest oil importer.

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U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures gained 85 cents, or 0.7%, to $102.80 a barrel.

Brent futures added 72 cents, or 0.6%, to $106.04 a barrel.

Oil rig (REUTERS/Todd Korol/File Photo)

Both contracts settled over 30 cents higher in the previous session due to ongoing concerns about tight worldwide supply.

Traders also concentrated on another drawdown in U.S. distillate and gasoline stocks.

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The U.S. Energy Information Administration said crude stocks rose by just 692,000 barrels last week, short of expectations, while distillate inventories, which include diesel and jet fuel, fell to their lowest since May 2008. 

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Analysts say challenges to demand include a slowdown in global growth as commodity prices rise and the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues.

The latest Reuters poll shows the global economy will expand more slowly than predicted three months ago.

Median forecasts for global growth fell to 3.5% this year and 3.4% for 2023 from 4.3% and 3.6% in a January poll, according to Reuters.

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That compares to an International Monetary Fund prediction of 3.6% growth in both years.

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