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Saudi Arabia’s crude oil exports fell to a five-month low in November, while production also slipped, data from the Joint Organisations Data Initiative (JODI) showed on Thursday.

The kingdom’s crude exports fell about 6.3% to 7.28 million barrels per day (bpd) in November from 7.77 million bpd in October, marking the first reduction in exports in the last six months.

The world’s largest oil exporter’s crude production fell to 10.47 million bpd in November from 10.96 million bpd in the previous month.

Saudi’s domestic crude refinery throughput decreased by 19,000 bpd to 2.660 million bpd in November, while direct crude burn rose 49,000 bpd to 429,000 bpd.

OPEC oil output rose in December, a Reuters survey found on Wednesday, despite an agreement by the wider OPEC+ alliance to cut production targets to support the market.

OPEC+, which comprises the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russia, last month had agreed to stick to a 2 million bpd oil output cut.

Oil edges up on expectations of tight market

Monthly export figures are provided by Riyadh and other OPEC members to JODI, which publishes them on its website.

Chinese oil demand rose by nearly 1 million bpd from the previous month to 15.41 million bpd in November, its highest since February, the data showed.

OPEC said on Tuesday Chinese oil demand would rebound this year due to relaxation of the country’s COVID-19 curbs and drive global growth, and it sounded an optimistic note on the prospects for the world economy in 2023.

Saudi Arabian state oil producer Aramco is discussing investments in petrochemicals with Chinese companies, Asharq reported citing an interview by the company’s chief executive with Bloomberg.

Lately, oil prices have been caught in a tug-of-war between fears of a possible U.S. recession and optimism over China’s demand outlook.

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