Oil prices fell on Wednesday after the data showed a drop in imports from China’s crude mid-year, while hopes of further tightening U.S. inventories offered support.
Crude Brent fell 38 cents, or 0.5%, to $ 76.11 a barrel from 0820 GMT. The West Texas range fell 46 cents, or 0.6%, to $ 74.79 a barrel.
China’s crude imports fell 3% from January to June, a year earlier, the first imports since 2013, as shortages of import quotas, refinery maintenance and rising world prices reduced purchases.
“Imports have declined as crude oil prices have risen as they have eroded refineries’ profit margins, ”the Eurasia Group said in a statement.
“If OPEC does not support a quick rise in supply, it will also demand the destruction of high oil prices in higher-cost emerging markets, especially in India,” Eurasia said.
Disagreements over the supply policy of the Petroleum Exporting Organization (OPEC), Russia and other producers, known as OPEC +, ended last week’s talks without finalizing agreements to boost production.
“It’s unlikely to let oil get out of its July highs … until some clarity appears to address the production lag,” said Jeffrey Halley, OANDA’s chief market analyst.
In support of the market, U.S. oil and gasoline inventory inventories fell last week, according to two market sources on Tuesday, citing data from the American Petroleum Institute.
Gross inventories fell 4.1 million barrels in the week ended July 9, sources said.
If confirmed on Wednesday when the Energy Information Administration (EIA) publishes its weekly data, the draw would mark the seventh consecutive week of declining inventory.
The International Energy Agency said general withdrawals from the warehouse would be the most in the third quarter, at least in a decade, in early June it indicated stock draws in the United States, Europe and Japan.