© Reuters. Model of Oil barrels are seen in front of rising stock graph in this illustration, July 24, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
By Alex Lawler
LONDON (Reuters) – Oil rose on Friday and was heading for a second straight weekly gain, spurred largely by brightening economic prospects for China and resulting expectations of a boost to fuel demand in the world’s second-biggest economy.
The lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in China is set to increase global demand to a record high this year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Wednesday, a day after OPEC also forecast a Chinese demand rebound in 2023.
gained 9 cents, or 0.1%, to $86.25 a barrel at 1211 GMT. advanced 71 cents, or 0.9%, to $81.04.
“Many traders believe it is highly likely that we are going to see higher demand coming from China as it continues to dismantle its COVID policies,” said Naeem Aslam, analyst at broker Avatrade.
For the week, Brent was heading for a gain of about 1.1% and the US benchmark for a 1.5% rise.
Oil was also supported by hopes that the US central bank will soon downshift to smaller rises in interest rates and by hopes for the US economic outlook.
A Reuters poll predicted that the US Federal Reserve will end its tightening cycle after increases of 25 basis points at each of its next two policy meetings and is then likely to hold rates steady for at least the rest of the year.
The chances of a “soft landing” for the US economy appear to be growing, Federal Reserve Vice Chair Lael Brainard said on Thursday. The Fed’s next rate-setting meeting is over Jan. 31 to Feb. 1.
The two largest economies in the world need more crude, said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.
“The oil market has been down on global recession fears, but it is still showing signs it can remain tight a little while longer,” he said.
Oil rose despite US inventory figures this week showing crude stockpiles rose by 8.4 million barrels in the week to Jan. 13 to about 448 million barrels, the highest since June 2021.