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Title: Oil prices ease on weaker economic data from China, Japan

Apr 13, 2022 01:35AM ET

By: AnalysisWatch

Oil prices slipped Wednesday, giving back earlier gains after China and Japan reported weak economic data that stoked concerns about growth and oil demand in the world's biggest consumers.

At 01:01 AM ET, Brent crude futures were down 34 cents, or 0.3%, at $104.30 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 46 cents, or 0.5%, at $100.14 a barrel. Both contracts had gained more than 6% in the previous session.

China's crude imports fell 14% from a year earlier, continuing a two-month decline, as strict measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 hurt demand in the world's largest crude importer.

The world's largest crude importer imported 42.71 million tons last month, equivalent to 10.06 million barrels per day, according to data released by the General Administration of Customs on Wednesday.

Oil prices rallied on Tuesday as reports of a partial easing of some of China's stringent COVID-19 curbs boosted market sentiment.

Still, oil prices are being supported by falling Russian oil and gas condensate production, while OPEC has warned that it would be impossible to replace potential supply shortfalls from Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine on Tuesday of sabotaging peace talks and stated that Moscow will not relent in its "special operation" to disarm its western neighbor.

According to market sources citing figures released Tuesday by the American Petroleum Institute, crude oil inventories rose sharply last week, while stocks of distillates and gasoline fell.

The 7.8 million barrel increase in crude oil inventories for the week ended April 8 reported by the API is higher than the 900,000 barrels estimated in a Reuters poll.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) will release the weekly data at 10:30 a.m. EDT on Wednesday.

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