Oil Inches Upward on Chinese Demand Expectations and Weaker Dollar

The price of oil inched upwards as investors bet on increasing demand from China and a weaker dollar made commodities more attractive to many purchasers.

At 10.06 am local time in Thailand, Brent crude futures rose 26 cents, or 0.30%, to $86.38 per barrel. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures gained 44 cents, or 0.55%, to $80.59 per barrel after closing little changed on Wednesday as US earnings were released.

Authorities in China announced late on Wednesday that the number of deaths and serious cases at hospitals are now 70% fewer than they were at their peak in the beginning of January. This should pave the way for an improvement in mobility and a rise in fuel consumption in the biggest oil importer.

In addition, crude benefited from a weaker US dollar, which on Wednesday reached its lowest level in nine months according to a gauge of the dollar’s performance. Expectations of a slowdown in the Federal Reserve’s rate-hike cycle are driving the retreat, which makes raw commodities cheaper for overseas purchasers.