Even as US crude stocks increase, crude oil maintains rises due to China’s recovery.

Early Asian trade on Thursday saw a little increase in oil prices, extending gains from the previous two sessions. The world’s largest oil consumer, China, showed signs of a robust economic recovery, allaying concerns about an increase in U.S. crude stocks. Although U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 7 cents, or 0.1%, at $77.76 a barrel at 0231 GMT, Brent crude futures increased 12 cents, or 0.1%, to $84.43 a barrel.

As statistics revealed that manufacturing activity in China climbed at the quickest rate in more than ten years in February, adding to the indications of an economic recovery following the relaxation of harsh COVID-19 controls, both contracts increased by roughly 1% in the previous session.

Nonetheless, record U.S. crude oil exports, which increased to 5.6 million barrels per day (bpd) last week, kept the build lower than in prior weeks. U.S. crude stocks “slowed their growth but sit well above the five-year range, with the reduction of buildup attributed to rising gross exports to new records,” according to Citi analysts in a client note.

Meanwhile, as the country increased purchases of Russian barrels that Western nations avoided, crude oil processed by Indian refiners hit record levels in January, according to preliminary government statistics released on Wednesday. The third-largest oil importer and consumer in the world saw its refinery throughput increase to 5.39 million barrels per day in January, the highest level recorded by Reuters since 2009.

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