Brent oil prices have edged up slightly in spite of rising concerns that renewed Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns could affect global fuel consumption.

Brent crude rose by $0.20, or 0.4%, to reach $54.95 a barrel by 03:51 GMT while US oil increased by $0.17, or 0.3%, to reach $52.19 a barrel, reported Reuters.

Oil settlement transaction was not made on 18 January in the US as a result of a public holiday.

According to data released on Monday, China’s refinery output increased 3% to a new record last year.

Australia’s CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy was quoted by the news agency as saying: “Yesterday’s data out of China was a positive for oil prices.”

OANDA senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley was quoted by Reuters as saying: “Like other asset classes, oil has received a gentle US stimulus tailwind in Asia.”

ANZ Research analysts were cited by the news agency as saying that concerns are being raised about the reduced fuel sales in India in January 2021 from December 2020, as well as a surge in Covid-19 cases in Japan and China that could result in reduced oil demand.

ANZ analysts said that the oil prices have also been supported by additional supply cuts by Saudi Arabia in the next two months.

The move is expected to reduce global inventories by 1.1 million barrels a day in the first quarter of this year.