The market is supported by the latest Baker Hughes data that the number of oil rigs operating to the lowest level in nearly a year. Drillers cut eight oil rigs in the week to March 29, bringing the total count down to 816. The fact that drilling has slowed suggests the oil output could at least remain steady in the weeks to come.
Another factor for the oil market is fresh data from China. Official China PMI manufacturing rose to 50.5 in March, up from 49.2 - the largest monthly rise since 2012. The report helped to ease concerns over the country’s economy and oil demand.
Further progress in the US-China trade talks added to the positive sentiment in the market. Against this backdrop, Brent could refresh 2019 highs above $68.50 in the near term should risk sentiment remain elevated. On the downside, the prices need to stay above the $67 threshold in order to avoid an aggressive profit-taking.