With the global economy gripped by rising levels of inflation, key oil consumers are trying to bring down prices. The International Energy Agency said this week that some of the current tightness in the market is starting to ease as global production picks up, and the volume of oil being transported at sea has risen sharply in recent weeks.
“It feels like the SPR release will happen soon,” said Giovanni Staunovo, commodity analyst at UBS Group AG. “It’s just a question of when it happens and how much crude they release.”
China tapped its national crude stockpiles earlier this year in an effort to bring domestic prices down, and it also made a private sale from the reserves. On Thursday, the reserve bureau’s spokeswoman said that more details on the volume and the date of sale would follow on its website in due course.
In the physical market, jitters over the nation’s crude demand are spreading as spot premiums of a key Russian grade favored by Chinese independent processors tumbled by more than a $1 a barrel due to the likelihood of another tax probe, according to traders. Earlier this week, the grade traded at the highest premium since January 2020.