Oil reaches 2019-high on strong crude use

SINGAPORE: Crude prices rose to their highest so far in 2019 on Monday after data showed refinery processing in China, the world’s second-largest oil consumer, climbed to a record last year despite a slowing economy.
International Brent crude oil futures were at $62.75 per barrel at 0747 GMT, up 5 cents, or 0.1 per cent, from their last close. Brent earlier rose above $63 for the first time in 2019.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $53.87 a barrel, up 7 cents, or 0.1 per cent. WTI earlier advanced above $54 a barrel for the first time this year.
Traders said the price rises came after data released by China’s National Bureau of Statistics on Monday showed crude oil refinery throughput climbed to a record 603.57 million tonnes in 2018, or 12.1 million barrels per day (bpd), up 6.8 per cent from the previous year.
The strong oil demand figures came despite China’s 2018 economic growth slowing to the weakest in 28 years, at 6.6 per cent versus 6.8 per cent in 2017.
Although the slowdown was in line with expectations and not as sharp as some analysts had expected, the cooling of the world’s No 2 economy casts a shadow over global growth.
“The global outlook remains murky, despite emerging positives from a dovish Fed (now boosting US mortgage applications), faster China easing (China credit growth stabilising) and a more durable US-China truce,” US bank JP Morgan said in a note. — Reuters