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Oil prices rise to 2019 high

Oil rig [File photo]
Oil rig [File photo]

Oil prices rose to a record high for 2019 reaching above $72 a barrel yesterday, thanks to China’s economic growth and an unexpected decline in US inventories.

By 11.30 GMT, Brent crude futures reached $72.27 a barrel, the highest this year.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) settled down 29 cents per barrel at $63.76 a barrel. The contract reached $64.61 a barrel, slightly below the 2019 high of $64.79 reached last week.

Official data showed that China’s economy grew by 6.4 percent in the first quarter, despite expectations for a further slowdown.

Refinery throughput in China; the world’s second-largest crude user, rose 3.2 percent in March year on year to 12.49 million barrels per day.

Prices have received support this year from an agreement between the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, including Russia, to cut production by 1.2 million barrels per day.

Prices were also supported by an unexpected drop in the US crude inventories, which fell by 3.1 million barrels to 452.7 million barrels, according to data from the American Petroleum Institute.

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