Oil prices rose today after China’s customs data revealed record high oil imports for January, which increased hopes among investors over fuel demand in the world’s second-largest oil consumer.
According to Reuters, Brent crude increased by $0.13 to $108.81 a barrel, while US crude gained $0.57 to $100.51 a barrel.
Crude gained after China’s General Administration of Customs data showed an 11.9% rise in the country’s crude oil imports for January from a year earlier to a record 6.63 million barrels per day, as companies restocked ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday despite moderate demand growth.
China, the world’s top energy consumer, witnessed 28.16 million tonnes, or 6.63 million barrels per day, of oil imports last month, up 5.1% from the previous record of 6.31 million barrels per day in December 2013.
Chinese exports grew beyond expectations in January, rising 10.6% from a year earlier, while imports followed suit with 10% growth, leaving the country with a trade surplus of $31.9bn for the month.
Cold weather in the US has increased demand for oil, especially for distillates, which offered support for crude.
The prices also received support from the American Petroleum Institute data, which showed that crude stocks at the key US delivery hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, fell by 2.5 million barrels.
API data also revealed that distillates, including heating oil and diesel, fell by 1.5 million barrels last week.
Investors are waiting for the US Energy Information Administration’s weekly inventory data, which is scheduled to be released later today.
Due to continuing freezing weather in the US, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has extended an order for more propane supplies to the north-east.
Image: Upbeat Chinese trade data increased optimism of continued growth in oil demand. Photo: courtesy of Ecow.