Crude Oil Futures Rise 3% on Solid Chinese Refinery Data and Weak US Dollar. On Thursday, oil prices rose by around 3 percent, reaching their highest level in a week, thanks to a weakening dollar and data showing an increase in refinery operations in top crude importer China.
By 1:00 PM EDT (1700 GMT), Brent futures had risen $2.07, or 2.8%, to $75.27 per barrel, while WTI crude in the United States had risen $2.00, or 2.9%, to $70.27. This means that both Brent and WTI might end the day at their highest levels since June 8 of this year.
Due to a greater percentage increase in gasoline futures, the gasoline crack spread (a metric of refining profit margins) has risen to its highest level since July 2022). Diesel futures in the United States increased by about 5%, reaching their highest level since late April.
The dollar fell to a five-week low against a basket of other currencies last week after U.S. data showed retail sales unexpectedly surged in May and jobless claims rose more than expected.
Oil priced in other currencies becomes more attractive if the US dollar declines in value.
Oil refinery throughput in China increased by 15.4% in May compared to the same month a year ago, according to data released on Thursday.
The CEO of Kuwait Petroleum Corp. has predicted that Chinese oil demand will increase steadily in the second half of the year. The Chinese economy is showing signs of weakness, with industrial output and retail sales growth in May falling short of expectations.
Fears that increased interest rates would dampen economic growth in the United States and Europe, so reducing demand for oil, also acted as a brake on rising prices.
On Thursday, as was widely anticipated, the European Central Bank (ECB) increased interest rates to a 22-year high. As it fights high inflation, it sent a signal that policy might be tightened further.
ECB President Christine Lagarde has stated, “The outlook for economic growth and inflation remains highly uncertain.” The Federal Reserve of the United States left interest rates constant on Wednesday but hinted at a half-point hike by the end of the year.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies imposed voluntary oil output cutbacks in May, and analysts predict that Saudi Arabia will do the same in July, to sustain prices during a period of strong demand.
UBS forecasts a supply gap in the range of 1.5-2 million bpd in June and July respectively. “Once these deficits become visible in on-land oil inventories, we expect oil prices to trend higher,” the bank added.
Iraq’s deputy oil minister for upstream issues, Basim Mohammed, told Reuters that on June 19, a Turkish energy delegation will meet with Iraqi oil authorities in Baghdad to discuss the restart of Iraq’s northern oil shipments.
After an arbitration judgement by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Turkey cut off Iraq’s 450,000 bpd of northern exports through the Iraq-Turkey pipeline on March 25.