Oil prices mixed ahead of power transition in US

Positive investor sentiment is boosted by data from China as country’s refineries post record production in 2020

Sibel Morrow   | 19.01.2021
Oil prices mixed ahead of power transition in US


Oil prices were mixed on Tuesday as China’s record-high refinery output in 2020 boosted positive market sentiment, but investors are still cautious ahead of the inauguration of US President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday.

International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $55.01 per barrel at 0645 GMT for a 0.47% rise after closing Monday at $54.75 a barrel.

American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded at $52.32 per barrel at the same time for a 0.19% decrease after it ended the previous session at $52.42 a barrel.

The price of Brent increased after data showed that refineries of the world’s second-largest oil consumer, China, hit record production in 2020 despite worldwide weak oil demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics of China, the country processed 3% more crude oil than in 2019 to bolster oil prices.

On the other hand, the rising number of coronavirus cases, along with tightening mitigation efforts and lockdowns in Europe and China, continue to weigh on prices.

Amid a rise in locally transmitted coronavirus infections in China, at least 11 regions in three provinces have been put under lockdown to stem the spread of the virus, as of Monday.

While France, Italy, Greece continue night curfews, Germany may tighten restrictions following a meeting between Chancellor Merkel and state leaders on Tuesday, Jan. 19. People in Spain, Belgium, Portugal, the Netherlands and Denmark are still under lockdowns.

Investors are also cautious ahead of the power transition in the US on Wednesday. Biden is expected to give details about a $1.9 trillion aid package he pledged last week.

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