Oil posts third weekly gain on tighter market and strong China economic data

The world's second-largest economy reports better-than-expected industrial production and retail sales

An electronics factory in Linquan, China. The country's industrial production and retail sales data is expected to boost market liquidity, giving the oil industry a lift. AP
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Oil prices recorded a third consecutive weekly gain amid expectations of a tighter crude market on supply curbs from Opec+ members and better-than-expected China economic data.

Brent, the benchmark for two thirds of the world’s oil, settled 0.25 per cent higher at $93.93 on Friday.

West Texas Intermediate, the gauge that tracks US crude, closed up 0.68 per cent at $90.77 a barrel.

Both benchmarks gained nearly 4 per cent on a weekly basis.

“Energy traders might have a tight leash on this oil rally here, but the risks of a significant supply shortfall should have many traders eyeing the $100 level over the next couple of months,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda.

This week, the International Energy Agency has forecast a global oil demand growth of 1.5 million barrels per day in the second half of the year, compared with the first half, exceeding supply by 1.24 million bpd during the period.

“From September onwards, the loss of Opec+ production, led by Saudi Arabia, will drive a significant supply shortfall through the fourth quarter,” the IEA said in its monthly report this week.

Opec+ members Saudi Arabia and Russia announced last week that they would extend supply cuts of a combined 1.3 million bpd to the end of the year.

As part of their voluntary cuts, the kingdom is extending its output reduction of a million bpd until December while Russia is rolling over its export cut of 300,000 bpd until the end of the year.

In its monthly oil market report on Tuesday, Opec said it expected a supply shortfall of 3.3 million bpd over the next three months.

The group also stuck to its oil demand outlook for this year and the next, and said China’s recent stimulus measures would help to revive economic growth.

China’s economy is recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, with the country having reported higher industrial output and retail sales in August, boosting demand for crude.

Data from the National Bureau released on Friday showed oil refinery processing rose to a record 64.69 million tonnes in August, up 19.6 per cent, or 15.23 million bpd, from a year earlier, Reuters reported.

“The better-than-expected industrial production, retail sales data from China this morning and news that the People’s Bank of China cut the required reserves for banks for the second time this year to boost market liquidity are giving further support to the oil bulls,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at Swissquote Bank.

Updated: September 17, 2023, 9:43 AM