LONDON, Jan 17 (Reuters) – Oil prices were mixed on Tuesday after China posted its second weakest annual economic growth in nearly half a century, although its recent shift in its COVID-19 policy boosted hopes of a recovery in fuel demand this year .
Brent crude futures were up 69 cents, or 0.8%, at $85.15 a barrel by 09:13 GMT.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (VTI) crude fell 7 cents, or 0.1%, to $79.79, its first daily loss since Jan. 4 after hitting its highest since Jan. 3.
There was no settlement on Monday due to the Martin Luther King Day holiday.
China’s gross domestic product rose 3% in 2022, missing the official target of “around 5.5%” and marking the second-worst performance since 1976, hit by COVID-19 restrictions and a slumping property market.
Economic data continued to beat analysts’ earlier forecasts after Beijing’s withdrawal of its zero-covid-19 policy in December boosted spending.
Data released on Tuesday showed that China’s oil refinery output fell 3.4% in 2022 from a year earlier, marking the first annual decline since 2001, although daily December crude output rose to the second-highest level in 2022 year.
“The country’s crude oil imports rose 4% in December and a significant increase in demand for transportation fuel … is expected when the Lunar New Year begins on Sunday,” PVM analyst Tamas Varga said.
He added that reports from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on Tuesday and the International Energy Agency (IEA) on Wednesday would shed more light on the strength of oil demand amid fears of a recession.
In a survey released at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, two-thirds of private and public sector economists surveyed expect a global recession this year, with about 18 percent saying it is “extremely likely.”
The survey of CEO attitudes by PvC was the most gloomy since the survey was launched a decade ago.
A slight strengthening of the dollar from seven-month lows also put pressure on oil prices, making dollar-priced oil more expensive for buyers holding other currencies.
Reporting by Shadia Nasrallah Additional reporting by Sonali Paul in Melbourne and Muyu Xu in Singapore Editing by David Goodman
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