Crude oil prices fall but remain buoyed by China outlook

Oil prices drifted lower in early trade on Monday, thinned by the Lunar New Year holiday in east Asia, but held on to most of last week’s gains on the prospect of an economic

recovery in top oil importer China this year. Brent crude futures retreated by 46 cents, or 0.5%, to $87.17 at 0031 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures

fell 40 cents, also down 0.5%, to $81.24 a barrel. Last week Brent rose 2.8%, while the U.S. benchmark logged a 1.8% gain. Data shows a solid pick-up in travel in China

after COVID-19 curbs were eased, ANZ commodity analysts said in a note, pointing to a 22% jump in road traffic congestion so far this month from a year earlier in the country’s 15

key cities. International Energy Agency head Fatih Birol on Friday said energy markets could tighten this year if the Chinese economy rebounds the way financial institutions

expect. Also ReadCrude oil prices climb on hopes for Fed slowing interest rate hikes “I wouldn’t be too relaxed about the markets, and 2023 may well be a year where

we see tighter markets than some colleagues may think,” Birol told Reuters, speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos. The jump in China’s

traffic ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday bodes well for fuel demand after the two-week vacation.