Crude Oil Prices Rise as China Demand Supports

Crude oil prices rose for a second consecutive session on Friday, as an increase in demand from China offset mounting concerns over rising U.S. oil production.
The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude January contract was up 97 cents or about 1.71% at $57.66 a barrel by 09:00 a.m. ET (13:00 GMT), just off a three-week low of $55.83 hit overnight.
Elsewhere, Brent oil for February delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London was up $1.06 or about 1.70% at $63.25 a barrel, after hitting a two-week trough of $61.13 on Wednesday.
Prices were boosted after the General Administration of Customs reported on Friday that China's crude oil imports rose to 37.04 9.01 million barrels per day (bpd) in November, the second highest on record.
The data came after the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Wednesday revealed a big jump in U.S. fuel inventories while domestic production hit another weekly record, pushing oil prices sharply lower.
Fears that rising U.S. output would dampen OPEC’s efforts to rid the market of excess supplies have been recently weighing on sentiment, according to market participants.
The producer group, along with some non-OPEC members led by Russia, agreed last week to extend current oil output cuts for a further nine months until the end of 2018.
The deal to cut oil output by 1.8 million barrels a day (bpd) was adopted last winter by OPEC, Russia and nine other global producers. The agreement was due to end in March 2018, having already been extended once.
Elsewhere, gasoline futures were up 1.16% at $1.719 a gallon, while natural gas futures advanced 1.09% to $2.792 per million British thermal units.