Oil Edges Higher on Asian Demand

Crude oil futures edged up on Monday, buoyed by healthy Asian appetite and demand from the U.S. driving season.  Front-month Brent crude prices were up 6 cents at $65.43 per barrel at 0045 GMT. U.S. crude prices were also up 6 cents at $59.78 a barrel.

“Global oil demand continues to surprise to the upside, with April data showing no signs of slowdown despite a pick-up in prices,” Energy Aspects said.  Japan’s customs-cleared crude oil imports rose 9.1 percent to 3.62 million barrels per day (17.28 million kilolitres) in April from the same month a year earlier, the Ministry of Finance said on Monday.

In China, crude imports hit a record 7.4 million barrels per day in April despite a slowing economy, driven largely by healthy car sales.  “We expect Chinese imports to be high in H2 15, potentially averaging 7.5 million barrels per day. This is due to the start-up of 39 mb (million barrels) of commercial storage, five SPR (strategic petroleum reserve) sites and linefill for Kunming refinery—buying for which is ongoing we believe, even though the refinery won’t start up till early 2016,” Energy Aspects said.