Most commodity markets made modest gains in cautious summer trading on Tuesday, while sugar prices consolidated after very strong gains in the previous session.
Nymex September West Texas Intermediate rose 10 cents lower at $70.70 a barrel and ICE September Brent gained 14 cents at $73.64 a barrel.
Traders expressed surprise at the lack of market reaction to strong data from China which showed crude oil imports at 4.62m barrel per day in July, a monthly record and up 42 per cent compared with the same period last year.
So far this year, Chinese crude oil imports have risen 5.8 per cent compared with the same period in 2008.
“The strong rise in crude oil imports is only to a certain extent attributable to a stronger domestic demand,” said Eugen Weinberg of Commerzbank: “Simultaneously, China’s exports of refined fuel surged by 31 per cent year-on-year in July. China is currently refining more crude oil than it actually needs.”