New York — Oil rose to more than $80 a barrel on Tuesday as investors bought up risk assets after U.S. data pointed to slowing inflation.
The market was also buoyed by concern about supply disruptions, including the ongoing shutdown of the Canada-to-United States Keystone crude pipeline following a massive leak.
Brent crude futures were up $2.85, or 3.4%, to $80.84 a barrel by 11:41 a.m. EDT [1641 GMT]. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures gained $2.49, or 3.4%, to $75.66.
The dollar index plunged after data showed that underlying U.S. consumer price inflation rose less than expected last month, reinforcing expectations that the Federal Reserve will slow the pace of its interest rate increases on Wednesday.
A weaker dollar makes oil cheaper for holders of other currencies, which can boost demand.
“Nobody really saw that number coming in below expectations – a possible demand-positive event that put a bid in the market,” Mizuho analyst Robert Yawger said.
However, traders said the oil supply concerns have been around for a few days now, suggesting Tuesday’s rally may be down to broader ‘risk-on’ sentiment after the inflation data.
“This is just a dollar-based broad rally,” said Eli Tesfaye, senior market strategist at RJO Futures. “Given the sustained drop in the market, any positive news will lift oil, but it remains to be seen if these rallies will hold.”
Chinese leaders reportedly delayed a key economic policy meeting due to surging COVID-19 infections, adding to concerns about demand recovery in the world’s biggest crude importer.
TC Energy Corp’s KeyStone Pipeline, which ships 620,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Canadian crude to the U.S., remains shut after a spill last week, which could reduce overall U.S. inventories, particularly at the Cushing, Oklahoma, hub, the delivery point for U.S. futures contracts.
U.S. crude inventories were forecast to fall by 3.9 million barrels last week, according to a preliminary Reuters poll.
Industry data from the American Petroleum Institute is due at 4:30 p.m. ET (2130 GMT), followed by government data on Wednesday.
Oil exports from Russia’s Baltic and Black Sea ports are set to decline this month, while Black Sea CPC Blend exports are expected to fall in January.
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