The recovery of crude oil prices from last month's unprecedented crash seems to be moving swiftly, as more countries ease their coronavirus lockdowns and output cuts agreed by OPEC+ and other top oil-producing countries start to whittle down the supply glut.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures CLc1 gained 4 cents, or 0.2%, to 24.03 a barrel, after declining more than 2% in the previous session.
Both contracts posted a second week of gains, with Brent advancing over 18% this week and WTI up about 33%.
Beijing imported 42.82 million tons of crude oil in April, or the equivalent of 10.42 million barrels per day, according to Reuters calculations based on government data.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies led by Russian Federation, a group know as OPEC+, began implementing a deal on record supply cuts amounting to 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) from the start of May.
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For now though, soaring inventories are a reminder of excess supply lingering in the market.
Oil prices jumped on Thursday following the news that China's exports unexpectedly rose last month and a sharp increase in Saudi Arabia's crude oil official selling prices.
"Price-wise, we still expect to see some mild (if not wild) price swings as the traders get bullish on shut-ins and then again bearish on the stock builds that continue to pile up", said Rystad Energy oil markets analyst Louise Dickson.
Investors pinned hopes for a revival in oil demand after Australia became the latest country to announce plans to reopen its economy.
France, parts of the United States and countries such as Pakistan are also planning to ease their lockdown restrictions. He said price support this week also came from increased economic activity in China and from the Saudis raising their official selling price for oil, "a sign that they are confident they can move that oil".