Oil prices settle at 8-week highs as stronger US growth lifts demand outlook By Investing.com



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Investing.com — Oil prices settled at eight-week highs on Thursday as stronger U.S. economic data eased worries about slowing global growth, boosting the demand outlook just a day after China rolled out monetary policy stimulus to prop up its economy.

By 14:30 ET (19.30 GMT), the futures settled 3% higher at $77.36 a barrel, the highest since Nov. 30, and the contract climbed 3% to $82.43 a barrel.

U.S. economy grows more than expected in Q4 to allay crude demand concerns

The U.S. economy grew at a faster than anticipated rate in the fourth quarter, according to data released earlier Thursday, further easing worries that slowing global growth will derail demand.

The more sanguine economic growth picture in the U.S. comes on the heels of fresh optimism on China growth after People’s Bank of China on Wednesday unexpectedly cut reserve requirements for local banks, freeing up more liquidity in another attempt to foster economic growth in the world’s largest oil importer.

The fresh stimulus from China fueled expectations that Chinese authorities “will consider a package of measures to stabilise the slumping equity market,” ANZ Research said in a recent note.

Middle East tensions continue to offer support, but may soon run out of road amid hopes for potential Gaza truce

Tensions also remain raised in the Middle East, as the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza rages on and Iran-backed Houthi militants continue to threaten shipping in the Red Sea, a crucial artery for shipping between Europe and Asia.

But the risk of supply disruptions “emanating from the Israel-Hamas war are also easing,” ANZ Research added, as talks of ceasefire in Gaza intensify, with “Arab nations working on an initiative that could offer Israel further normalisation of relations with Arab states.”

But there still remain fundamental hurdles between Israel and Hamas that need to be worked out for a longer-term ceasefire.

(Peter Nurse, Ambar Warrick contributed to this article.)

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