Metals have been punished in recent days as Chinese data has disappointed, but oil is in full party mood. Brent crude was trading near $59 a barrel on Tuesday, its loftiest level since 2015, after rising nearly 4% overnight and putting it back into a bull market. That should raise some red flags—strong Chinese demand supported the oil market earlier this year when U.S. drivers weren’t getting out so much, and will be necessary to keep rebalancing the market, particularly if growth in the U.S. or Europe stumbles. Energy economists spent much of the spring fretting over weak U.S. oil consumption, which resulted in a massive gasoline glut. Those fears have largely evaporated. Americans returned to the road this summer, helped by lower prices and a tightening labor market.
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Written by Nathaniel Taplin at The Wall Street Journal