West Texas Intermediate traded near the highest in almost six weeks as China’s net crude imports rebounded and the U.S. jobless rate fell, signaling recovery in the world’s two biggest oil consumers.
Crude in New York extended gains to increase for a seventh day after advancing 0.3 percent on Dec. 6. China’s net crude imports rose 19 percent to 5.73 million barrels a day last month, climbing from the lowest level in 14 months, data from the Beijing-based General Administration of Customs showed yesterday. U.S. unemployment dropped to 7 percent in November, the lowest rate in five years, according to Labor Department figures. Refinery runs in the U.S. increased in late November, data from the Energy Department showed last week.
“U.S. crude is starting to get more bids as refineries are starting and there are not-that-large stock builds in Cushing,” the Oklahoma delivery point for WTI, Torbjoern Kjus, a senior oil analyst at DNB ASA, said by telephone from Oslo. “I expect U.S. prices to stay solid and the Brent price to head lower,” Kjus said, noting rising U.S. refinery use as fuel processors draw down inventories and boost refined exports.
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