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Oil up as supply tightness view offsets concerns from rate hikes

Oil up as supply tightness view offsets concerns from rate hikes © Reuters. Pumpjacks are seen against the setting sun at the Daqing oil field in Heilongjiang province, China December 7, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

By Katya Golubkova

TOKYO (Reuters) – Oil prices rose on Thursday as investors focused on expectations of tighter supplies from top oil producers, helping reverse earlier losses that were driven by worries that the hike in interest rates by the U.S. will hurt demand.

The promise of economic stimulus in China, the world’s second-biggest oil consumer, also lent support to the market.

Brent crude futures were up 36 cents, or 0.4%, at $83.28 barrel by 0101 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose to $79.26, up 48 cents, or 0.6%.

Oil prices edged lower on Wednesday after data showed inventories fell less than expected and the Federal Reserve raised interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point, leaving the door open to another hike.

The European Central Bank is also expected to raise interest rates for the ninth time in a row on Thursday, which may not be the end to the policy tightening amid persistent inflation.

Wednesday’s oil price losses were limited as inventories at Cushing, the pricing point for WTI, remain near their lowest levels since May, ANZ Research said in a note.

Oil prices have rallied for four weeks, buoyed by signs of tighter supplies, largely linked to output cuts by Saudi Arabia and Russia, as well as Chinese authorities’ pledges to shore up the world’s second-biggest economy.

“We expect will rise to $85 per barrel by the fourth quarter on expectations that OPEC+ supply cuts and resilient demand will force global oil stockpiles to fall,” Commonwealth Bank of Australia (OTC:) said in a note.

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