September West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures experienced another volatile week, culminating in a 3% increase to reach a one-week high on Thursday. Several factors contributed to this rise, including a weaker U.S. dollar and a significant surge in refinery runs in China, the world's top crude oil importer. This positive performance helped the market recover from earlier losses, which puts it in a position to end the week on an upward trajectory.
Supply and Demand Factors
The bullish sentiment in the oil market was supported by multiple supply and demand factors. Firstly, the gasoline crack spread, which measures refining profit margins, reached its highest level since July 2022 in the United States. This is indicative of strong demand for gasoline relative to the cost of crude oil. The high crack spread incentivizes refiners to increase gasoline production, driving up the demand for crude oil as feedstock and ultimately boosting oil prices.
Additionally, reports from the U.S. revealed an unexpected increase in retail sales for May and higher-than-expected jobless claims, leading to a weakening of the U.S. dollar. A weaker dollar makes crude oil more affordable for holders of other currencies, stimulating oil demand.
China's oil refinery throughput also played a crucial role in the market rally. Data showed a significant 15.4% year-on-year increase in refinery throughput in May, reaching its second-highest level on record. Analysts expect…