Oil prices reclaimed ground on Monday after tumbling more than $2 a barrel in the previous session as optimism from China’s reopening and oil demand recovery outweighed concerns of a global recession. Brent crude futures rose 72 cents, or 0.9 per cent, to $79.76 a barrel by 0103 GMT while US West Texas Intermediate crude was at $74.89 a barrel, up 60 cents, or 0.8pc. China, the world’s top crude oil importer and number two oil consumer, is experiencing its first of three expected waves of Covid-19 cases after Beijing relaxed mobility restrictions. “Despite a surge in Covid cases, the reopening optimism and accommodative policy improve oil’s demand outlook,” CMC Markets analyst Tina Teng said. On Friday, news outlet Caixin reported that China plans to increase flights with the goal of restoring the country’s average daily passenger flight volumes to 70pc of 2019 levels by Jan 6. China’s diesel and gasoline exports continued to surge in November to their highest level in over a year as refiners dashed to use up their 2022 export quotas and sell down rising inventory. Brent and WTI rose more than 3pc last week as a Canada to US pipeline remained shut with its operator TC Energy Corp focused on cleaning up an oil spill. The shutdown of the pipeline, with a capacity to send 622,000 barrels per day of Canadian crude to US refiners, has supported prices for US heavy crude grades. An announcement by the US Energy Department on Friday that it will begin repurchasing crude oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve also supported a forecast for stronger prices. This will be the United States’ first purchase since this year’s record 180 million barrel release from the stockpile.