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Oil prices increase with expectations of growth in Chinese demand

Oil prices increased on Thursday after hitting their lowest level in over a year in the previous session due to deepening economic worries.

International benchmark Brent crude traded at $74.28 per barrel at 9.39 a.m. local time (0639GMT), up 0.80% from the closing price of $73.69 a barrel in the previous trading session.

At the same time, American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded at $68.11 per barrel, a 0.74% increase after the previous session closed at $67.61 a barrel.

Oil prices rose slightly with economic recovery expectations in China, the world’s largest oil-importing country.

China’s reopening following the lifting of the strict zero-COVID-19 policy is expected to add considerable momentum to global economic growth, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said in its monthly release earlier in the week.

However, fears of an economic recession and lower oil demand continue to dominate the oil market, keeping oil price increases limited. Oil prices were put under pressure after the collapse of the US-based Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank last week.

The larger-than-expected rise in US oil inventories also added to downward pressures on oil prices.

US commercial crude oil inventories rose by around 1.6 million barrels to 480.1 million barrels during the week ending March 10, according to data by the Energy Information Administration late Wednesday.

Market expectation was for an increase of 555,000 barrels.

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