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Crude Holds Onto Gains On US Demand Hopes


Oil prices have held onto most of Wednesday’s gains due to further greenback weakness and continued US gasoline stock drawdown, but gave up increases from early in the APAC session. WTI is flat at $79.12/bbl after reaching an intraday high of $79.36, and Brent is at $82.92 after a high of $83.17. The USD index is down another 0.1%, which should help to put a floor under crude. Markets will be looking to Friday’s US payrolls now for direction.

  • Better-than-expected January-February China trade data failed to boost oil prices. Its crude import volumes rose 5.1% y/y YTD and refined oil +35.6% y/y YTD.
  • Oil has continued to find support during today’s session from the EIA reported 4.46mn gasoline inventory drawdown last week. This fifth decline is signalling robust demand ahead of the driving season.
  • A Barbados-flagged bulk carrier was hit by Houthi rebels in the Gulf of Aden on Wednesday killing two crew members for the first time. The US and UK reiterated that it will act to protect shipping in the area.
  • Later Fed Chair Powell testifies before Congress and Mester speaks on the economic outlook. In terms of US data, there are February Challenger job cuts, jobless claims and January trade. The ECB decision is announced including updated forecasts and press conference.

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