Oil prices climbed on Monday following their best week since April as traders sifted through a mix of economic data from China. U.S. crude oil and global benchmark Brent saw nearly 4% gains last week, fueled by expectations that the market will tighten in the third quarter due to increased summer fuel demand.

Helima Croft, head of global commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets, noted the anticipated decrease in oil stockpiles. "It's more of a sense that this market is likely to get tighter as we go deeper in summer," Croft told CNBC's "Closing Bell Overtime" on Friday.

Current energy prices reflect this tightening trend:

  • West Texas Intermediate (WTI) July contract: $78.83 per barrel, up 38 cents, or 0.48%. Year to date, U.S. oil has gained 10%.
  • Brent August contract: $83.02 per barrel, up 38 cents, or 0.46%. Year to date, the global benchmark is ahead 7.7%.
  • RBOB Gasoline July contract: $2.42 per gallon, up 0.87%. Year to date, gasoline is up 15%.
  • Natural Gas July contract: $2.82 per thousand cubic feet, down 1.91%. Year to date, gas has gained 12.3%.

"After three weeks of losses, the oil complex finally made amends and gained some traction," said Tamas Varga, analyst at oil broker PVM. "The move higher was not unreservedly convincing, but developments over the past five trading sessions did not indicate any souring of investors' sentiment either."

Traders are closely analyzing the latest economic data from China to assess its impact on demand. While retail sales in China exceeded expectations, industrial output and fixed asset investment fell short. This mixed data continues to fuel uncertainty about China's economy and its growth in oil demand.

OPEC has forecasted the Chinese economy to grow by 4.8% this year, positioning China as a primary driver of crude consumption in the developing world. However, the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) revised its global oil demand outlook lower due to weakness in China. According to the IEA, demand growth in China slowed from 800,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the first quarter to 95,000 bpd in April. Consequently, the IEA now projects global oil demand growth to be 960,000 bpd this year, approximately 100,000 bpd lower than previously forecast.

Despite the downbeat Chinese data, hopes for increased demand from the summer driving season in the northern hemisphere provided some support for oil prices. Global benchmark Brent crude futures were up 33 cents, or 0.4%, to $82.95 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures gained 25 cents, or 0.3%, to $78.70.

Last week, both benchmarks posted their first weekly gain in four weeks, driven by confidence that oil inventories will decrease as the summer season progresses and amid continued OPEC+ supply cuts. "The crude oil market initially responded negatively to mixed data from China," said Ole Hansen of Saxo Bank. "But the outlook for strong fuel demand into the coming quarter and Saudi reassurance about the October hike being subject to prevailing conditions and added focus on quota breakers to bring production down and into line all seems to be supporting."

Saudi Arabia has indicated that OPEC+'s planned fourth-quarter increase in output can be paused or reversed if necessary. Russia and Iraq, which have been producing more than their OPEC+ quotas, pledged last week to meet their obligations.

Reports from OPEC and the International Energy Agency last week, despite differing on the strength of oil demand growth this year, supported confidence that inventories would be drawn down in the second half. However, BofA analysts cautioned that there is still a risk to prices if weak supply and demand balances persist. "It is not yet clear whether balances will firm enough in the third quarter to tip the market from a large apparent surplus into a deficit that can lift prices," BofA analysts, including Francisco Blanch, wrote in a report.