Oil Prices Tick Up

oil prices crept up on Friday, buoyed by economic stimulus in slow-recovering China and falling inventories in the US.

Brent futures were up 65 cents to $80.29 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate crude climbed 64 cents to $76.29 a barrel. Prices closed marginally higher on Thursday, Reuters reported.

China’s weak economic figures had kept a lid on prices through the week.

The world’s second Oil Prices Tick Up this week posted disappointing growth in second-quarter gross domestic product, increasing the likelihood the economy will miss the government’s 5% annual growth target.

However, sentiments across commodity markets have picked up on hopes the central government would roll out stimulus measures. On Friday, Chinese authorities unveiled plans to help boost sales of automobiles and electronics to shore up its sluggish economy.

Meanwhile, recent US data, including lower-than-expected inflation and moderating job growth, have convinced many investors and analysts the Federal Reserve’s expected July rate hike will be the last of its current tightening cycle.

In early July, Riyadh said it would extend a voluntary output cut of 1 million barrels per day into August, while Moscow said it would cut exports by 500,000 bpd in August.

US crude inventories fell last week, supported by a jump in crude exports as well as higher refinery utilization, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday