Brent crude rises toward $70 on upbeat Chinese energy demand outlook

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Oil prices climbed on Monday, with Brent on course to hit $70 per barrel as Chinese economic data sharply grew at the beginning of 2021, supporting fuel demand outlook.

Brent crude futures for May contract rose 0.7%, or 47 cents, at $69.69 per barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery gained 0.8%, or 49 cents, at $66.10 per barrel.

Chinese industrial output growth grew in January-February, beating analysts’ forecasts. Data on daily refinery throughput gained 15% year-on-year.

Also supporting prices is Saudi Arabia cutting the production of April-loading crude by up to 15% to four north Asian buyers. The supply cuts came as OPEC and its allies decided to maintain production cuts in April. 

Meanwhile, U.S. oil refiners’ weekly capacity rose 1.6 million bpd as more plants restart operations following a winter storm in Texas last month.

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