(Bloomberg) Oil rose as more countries approved Covid-19 vaccines, boosting the demand outlook and shrugging off a bumper increase in U.S. crude inventories. There are continuing signs of robust demand in Asia with Chinese refiners moving early to buy oil from as far afield as the North Sea. Indian Oil Corp., which has been seeking to buy spot crude cargoes in recent days, said the nation’s petroleum products consumption is almost back to normal.Crude has surged to near a nine-month high, and benchmark Brent is trading just shy of $50 a barrel. Canada became the latest country to approve a Covid vaccine and Chicago said it will offer inoculations free of charge to all adults next year. These helped traders on Thursday dismiss the second-biggest increase ever in U.S. crude inventories.
“The pulse of oil markets remains wedged between the push-and-pull stemming from rising virus cases in the U.S. and Europe,” and potential Covid-19 vaccines, said Ehsan Khoman, head of MENA research at MUFG Bank Ltd.
West Texas Intermediate for January delivery rose 0.9% to $45.92 a barrel as of 10:09 a.m. in London
Brent for February settlement increased 0.9% to $49.31
The oil market’s price structure remains robust. Brent’s nearest timespread is trading in a bullish backwardation — where nearby futures are more expensive than later ones — indicating relatively tight supplies.
Other oil-market news
Royal Dutch Shell Plc is shaking up its mighty in-house trading unit, with the retirement of Mark Quartermain as head of crude — a job widely seen as the most powerful in the global oil-trading industry.
Kazakhstan has banned diesel imports until April 2021 to ensure “a comfortable balance” of consumption between imported volumes and those produced by the nation’s refineries, the Energy Ministry said in an emailed statement.
The Trump administration is preparing to issue a broad plan that keeps the door open for expanded oil drilling off the U.S. coast, including near Southern California, Alaska and Mid-Atlantic states.
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