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Oil prices tick up in volatile trade as U.S. stocks fall in tight market

Oil prices climbed on Wednesday, paring losses from the previous session, amid gains in broader equity markets and on signs of renewed demand from top oil importer China.

Brent crude futures for December settlement rose 22 cents to $90 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for November delivery was at $83 a barrel, up 68 cents.

The pending European Union ban on Russian crude and oil products and the output cut from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers of 2 million barrels per day also kept prices strong.

In the previous session, the contracts fell to their lowest in two weeks on reports of U.S. President Joe Biden’s plans to release more barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).

British and Dutch wholesale gas prices fell this week on the back of mild weather, full gas storage tanks and plentiful liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker arrivals.

China this week postponed the release of some key economic data, a highly unusual move stoking fears of weak growth.

But there were also some signs of resurgent Chinese oil demand, including private mega refiner Zhejiang Petrochemical Corp (ZPC) and state-run ChemChina receiving further import quotas.

The pending European Union ban on Russian crude and oil products and the output cut from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers including Russia, a group known as OPEC+, of 2 million barrels per day also supported prices.

The EU’s sanctions on Russian crude and oil products will take effect in December and February, respectively.

In the United States, crude oil stockpiles fell about 1.3 million barrels, according to market sources citing American Petroleum Institute figures on Tuesday.

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