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January 29, 2015

Oil steadies near $49 with support from Chinese reserve regulations

The price of Brent crude oil steadied near $49 a barrel on Friday with some support from new reserve regulations in China.

The price of Brent crude oil steadied near $49 a barrel on Friday with some support from new reserve regulations in China.

Reuters reported that Brent crude oil futures declined 4 cents to $49.09 per barrel and US WTI futures were up 25 cents at $44.78 a barrel.

Oil is on track for a seventh monthly decline due to a worldwide supply glut.

"Given the scale of the stock builds, we aren’t out of the woods yet."

Energy Aspects chief oil analyst Amrita Sen was reported by the news agency as saying that although Brent prices have kept within a band of $45-$50 a barrel for most of the month, high global stock levels threaten further declines.

Sen said: "Given the scale of the stock builds, we aren’t out of the woods yet. The fundamentals remain weak, with seasonal refining maintenance resulting in stock builds on what is an already high base for stocks."

The new commercial crude reserves regulations in China are expected to increase import demand in the short term.

China’s top economic planner said the country’s refineries are anticipated to store enough crude for 15 days of average throughput.

Various commercial oil traders will be forced to import crude in the short term to address the needs.

Analysts, however, said the market outlook remained weak due to increased production and a reduced-price environment.

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