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Oil stagnates after a start to the year in the red



(New York) Oil prices stalled on Friday after a volatile session between the rebound on Wall Street, the uncertain situation in China and the shutdown of an oil pipeline in the United States.

A barrel of Brent from the North Sea for delivery in March fell 0.15% to 78.57 dollars.

Its American equivalent, a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for February delivery, climbed 0.13% to 73.77 dollars.

“Prices rose early in the session on the momentum in equities,” after a US jobs report showing a slowdown in wage increases, “but the momentum then ran out of steam,” said Robert Yawger of Mizuho USA.

The start of the year was difficult for prices, which lost more than 7%, depressed by the uncertainty of demand in China while the lifting of health restrictions which raised hopes for a rapid reopening of the economy, left the room for the spread of COVID-19.

For a moment on Friday, “investors may have thought that previous losses had been a bit exaggerated,” hoped analysts at Energi Danmark.

It had been a few decades since oil had experienced such a downturn at the start of the year and “energy investors jumped on the news that the Colonial Pipeline had to halt operations”, said Edward Moya from Oanda.

US oil pipeline system Colonial Pipeline was forced to shut down Line 3 due to a leak at its delivery station in Witt, near Danville, Virginia.

The restart of the line is scheduled for Saturday.

But concerns about the global economy and the Chinese epidemic situation are still limiting the rise in prices.

For Robert Yawger, the fleeting momentum of the session “shows that the structure of the market is bearish”.

“The outlook for crude demand in the near term does not look like it can be boosted by a robust economic recovery in China,” adds Edward Moya.

The health situation of the country, the world’s largest importer of crude, weighs directly on its growth and therefore its demand for oil.

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