Oil reaches its highest in 15 months

Oil prices rose 1 percent on Monday, hitting a fresh 15 month high above $83 a barrel, and a supported data showing China’s crude oil imports increased by nearly 25 percent in December as the U.S. dollar weakened.
The cold weather in the U.S. and Europe continued to boost demand for heating fuel, lending support to oil prices.
U.S. crude for February deals rose 67 cents to $83.42 a barrel by 0958 GMT, off an earlier peak of $83.67, the highest price since October 2008, and the London Brent crude gained 60 cents to $81.97.
But oil is still 43 percent below its July 2008 high of more than $147 a barrel.
"The weak U.S. dollar, cold weather and robust Chinese import data are all supporting oil today," said Carsten Fritsch, oil analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt, adding "At the moment the market is only looking at positive data, not negative numbers."
Many reasons were behind the rise, China, the world’s second-largest energy consumer, imported over 20 million tons of crude for the first time ever in December, up almost a quarter from November, according to Customs data published on Sunday, The cold weather, and the tensions in Nigeria’s main oil producing region have removed some supplies from the market.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s top crude exporter, has kept February oil supply to major Asian buyers and one European major largely steady against January levels, as the kingdom takes the lead in sticking to OPEC supply cuts, industry sources said on Monday.
With little U.S. economic data this week, corporate results will be carefully watched to measure the state of recovery in the world’s largest energy consumer.


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