Oil prices retreated on Thursday after China cut the amount of crude oil import quota awarded to independent oil refiners by 11%.
Brent crude futures was down 41 cents, or 0.5%, to $78.82 a barrel at 07:55 GMT, down for the first time in four days. While U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 33 cents, or 0.4%, to $76.23 a barrel after six sessions of gains.
"Market sentiment weakened on worries that the Chinese government could take stricter actions against the teapots," a Singapore-based analyst told Reuters, referring to the independent refiners.
Gasoline and distillate inventories were also down, despite analysts' forecasts for builds.
It's worth noting that OPEC+'s next meeting is scheduled on Jan. 4 and a decision whether to continue increasing output in February will be made.
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