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Oil rises on easing US interest rate fears

Oil rises on easing US interest rate fears

Oil prices rose on Thursday as signs of a strong economic recovery in China, the biggest oil importer, eased concerns about aggressive interest rate hikes in the United States.

Oil extraction pumps in Almetyevsk, Russia 03/02/2023 REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Photo: Reuters

Brent futures settled at $84.75 a barrel, gaining 44 cents, or 0.5%. U.S. crude (WTI) was up 47 cents, or 0.6%, at $78.16 a barrel.

China’s manufacturing activity grew at its fastest pace in a decade last month, data showed on Wednesday, adding to evidence of a recovery in the world’s second-largest economy following the lifting of tight Covid-19 restrictions.

China’s seaborne imports of Russian oil are expected to hit a record this month as refiners take advantage of cheaper prices.

Prices were helped by comments from Atlanta Federal Reserve Chairman Rafael Bostic, who said the Fed should stick to “steady” quarterly point hikes for now in an effort to avoid a recession.

“We were hurt by Feder’s speech, but Bostic’s comments seem to be helping oil,” said John Gilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York.

The comments eased concerns raised earlier when strong U.S. unemployment data had investors worried about the possibility of faster and bigger rises in interest rates.

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