GLOBAL OIL MARKET: OIL EASES AS INVESTORS EYE U.S. OIL RELEASE, CHINA DEMAND CONCERNS

Oil eases as investors eye U.S. oil release, China demand concerns

Oil prices eased for a second session on Friday on growing concerns that Washington may soon act to cool prices, while movement controls in China to rein in a COVID-19 outbreak weighed on fuel demand. Brent crude futures fell 30 cents, or 0.4%, to $84.17 a barrel in early trades.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was down 45 cents to $81.67 a barrel. China, the No. 2 oil consumer globally, has suspended some international flights and stepped-up efforts to rein in a virus outbreak at Tianjin while the highly transmissible Omicron variant has spread to the northeastern city of Dalian.

Many cities, including Beijing, have also urged people to stay put during the Lunar New Year holiday, which could cool demand for transport fuel during a peak travel season.

The U.S. Energy Department said on Thursday it had sold 18 million barrels of strategic crude oil reserves to six companies, including Exxon Mobil and a unit of refiner Valero Energy Corp.

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