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Oil rises on robust China export data, but new lockdowns cap gains

The Homer Ferrington gas drilling rig, operated by Noble Energy and drilling in an offshore block on concession from the Cypriot government, is seen during President Demetris Christofias’ visit in the east Mediterranean, Nicosia November 21, 2011. REUTERS/Cyprus Public Information Office/Handout

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SINGAPORE, June 9 (Reuters) – Oil prices held firm near 13-week highs on Thursday after China reported stronger-than-expected exports in May, although new Shanghai lockdown restrictions capped gains.

Brent crude futures for August rose 35 cents, or 0.3%, to $123.93 a barrel at 0404 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for July was at $122.35 a barrel, up 24 cents, or 0.2%.

Both benchmarks closed Wednesday at their highest since March 8, matching levels seen in 2008.

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China’s exports jumped 16.9% from a year earlier as easing COVID curbs allowed some factories to restart, the fastest growth since January this year, and more than double analysts’ expectations for a 8.0% rise. Exports were up 3.9% in April. read more

However, parts of Shanghai began imposing new lockdown restrictions on Thursday, with residents of sprawling Minhang district ordered to stay home for two days in a bid to control COVID-19 transmission risks. read more

“The export performance is impressive in the context of the country’s multi-city lockdowns in the month,” Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management, said in a note Thursday.

“Still, the apparent negative feedback loop is there is less incentive for the authorities to move away from ‘zero COVID’ soon,” Innes said, adding that this was a bit of a saw-off for oil markets.

Meanwhile, peak summer gasoline demand in the United States continued to provide a floor to prices.

The U.S. posted a record fall in strategic crude reserves even as commercial stocks rose last week, data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed on Wednesday.

U.S. gasoline stocks unexpectedly dropped, indicating resilience in demand for the motor fuel during peak summer despite sky-high pump prices. read more

“It’s hard to see significant downside in the coming months, with the gasoline market likely to only tighten further as we move deeper into driving season,” said ING’s head of commodities research Warren Patterson.

EIA’s data showed that apparent demand for all oil products in the United States rose to 19.5 million barrels per day (bpd) while gasoline demand rose to 8.98 million bpd, ANZ analysts said in a note.

Efforts by OPEC+ oil producers to boost output are “not encouraging”, UAE energy minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said on Wednesday, noting the group was currently 2.6 million bpd short of its target. read more

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Reporting by Florence Tan and Jeslyn Lerh; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Kim Coghill

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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2022-06-08 23:20:00

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