Oil near flat as inflation concerns contend with potential quarantine easing in China

Oil near flat as inflation concerns contend with potential quarantine easing in China

Oil prices were near flat on Friday, as market participants weighed concerns about steep inflation with optimism that China could see energy demand tick up.

Brent crude futures lost 5 cents to trade at $92.33 a barrel by 00:02 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures rose 7 cents to trade at $84.58 a barrel.

Brent was on track for a weekly gain of 0.7%, while WTI was expected to fall 1.3%.

To fight inflation, the U.S. Federal Reserve is trying to slow the economy and will keep raising its short-term rate target, said Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President Patrick Harker on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Beijing is considering cutting the quarantine period for visitors to seven days from 10 days, Bloomberg news reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.

China, the world’s largest crude importer, has stuck to strict COVID-19 curbs this year, which weighed heavily on business and economic activity, lowering demand for fuel.

A looming European Union ban on Russian crude and oil products, as well as the output cut from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia, known as OPEC+, have supported prices recently.

OPEC+ agreed on a production cut of 2 million barrels per day in early October.

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