Brent Crude, an important “benchmark oil” that serves as a barometer for the commodity’s price in general, squeaked out a closing price above $80 per barrel late Friday. However, according to a report from Reuters, Brent is still down for the second week in a row. US crude was also not spared and finished more than three percent down from the start of the week.
Much of the good news for the crude industry is coming from China, which imports more oil than any other country on earth. According to Reuters, data released by Beijing shows that the state was refining 12.49 million barrels per day, which is a new record. This is in spite the fact that the country showed abysmal third-quarter economic growth.
While China’s growing hunger for oil is a positive sign for suppliers, the impending US sanctions against Iran are still foremost in the minds of many members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). While many OPEC countries have agreed to increase production to meet the deficit left by Iran’s supply, some are unsure if they can make it in time.
“OPEC and non-OPEC production increases have not quite equaled the loss in Iranian supply, giving the market concern about whether or not they will be able to fulfill the shortfall,” said Lipow Oil Associates’ president, Andrew Lipow, while speaking to Reuters.