Moderate China demand seen easing oil prices, for now

The biggest wild card on the demand side regarding oil? China, writes Marketwatch.com's Myra Saefong, whose covered the oil market for many years.

The United States remains the world's largest consumer of oil in absolute and per capita terms, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data, but it was the emergence of China-based demand during the recent economic expansion that pressured oil's production safety cushion – and that sent shudders through those watching budgets in oil consuming companies and countries alike. Aided by China demand and a leveraging boom, oil hit the economy-stalling, truly-dizzying high of $147.27 per barrel last summer.