WTI crude oil prices rose to around $81 per barrel on Wednesday, closing in on its highest level since early December, as hopes for a demand recovery in China after its rapid exit from zero-Covid policy outweighed fears of a global economic slowdown.
A top Chinese economic official said at the World Economic Forum that the world’s second largest economy and top crude importer will likely rebound to its pre-pandemic growth trend this year as Covid infections passed their peak.
On the supply side, investors remained concerned about the expected impact of the latest Western sanctions on Russian flows in response to the war in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, OPEC Secretary General Haithan Al-Ghais said he is “cautiously optimistic” about the outlook for the global economy, as a recovery in oil demand in China is tempered by signs of fragility elsewhere, Bloomberg reported.
Investors now await the monthly market outlook report from the International Energy Agency later on Wednesday.