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Brent price gains 2.1% on positive demand outlook

BRENT oil price gained 2.1% this week as pressure on demand eased on the back of escalation in vaccination campaigns and expected boost in gasoline, jet fuel demand due to the upcoming summer season.

International benchmark Brent crude traded at $67.98 on Friday, posting more than a 2.1% increase from Monday when trade registered at $66.56 per barrel.

American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded at $64.58 at the same time on Friday, rising over 1.8% relative to $63.41 a barrel on Monday.

Most of the weekly gains came as vaccination campaigns are speeding up, raising expectations of an oil demand rebound, especially in the third quarter of the year when the summer driving season is at its busiest.

Oil traders also noted the easing of restrictions in the US and Europe instilled hope of prompt economic recovery, while air travel in the US reached an all-time high since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic more than a year ago.

The vaccine rollout in the EU proved successful in reducing deaths and new cases in prosperous countries to the extent that EU officials are considering loosening restrictions on visitors to the continent.

Investors interpreted the easing of output cuts from oil producers of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC nations from May 1 as a precursor to a tighter market and a demand rebound.

Oil prices found more support from the greater-than-expected fall in US crude stocks last week, signaling a crude demand rebound in the US.

US commercial crude oil inventories fell by 8 million barrels, or 1.6%, to 485.1 million barrels, relative to the market expectation of a fall of 2.2 million barrels, according to data released by the country’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday.

However, the alarming increase in coronavirus cases in Asian countries, especially in India, continues to curb demand. India set another global record for daily cases on Friday, registering over 414,000 infections over the past 24 hours.

This marked the second consecutive day the country registered over 400,000 cases after reporting 412,262 infections on Thursday.

Meanwhile, early in the morning, oil prices recorded strong increase before it moderated. International benchmark Brent crude traded at $68.50 per barrel, up 0.60% after closing Thursday at $68.09 a barrel.

American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $65.09 per barrel at the same time for a 0.58% rise after it ended the previous session at $64.71 a barrel.

Positive economic data from the world’s largest oil consumers, China and the US, also pushed prices up.

China’s global exports rose 32.3% over a year ago to $263.9 billion, signaling greater economic activity, while the US posted a new pandemic low in jobless claims, creating positive sentiment for an economic recovery.

However, the worrisome increase in coronavirus cases in Asian countries, especially in India, continues to curb demand. India set another global record for daily cases Friday, registering over 414,000 infections over the past 24 hours.

This marked the second consecutive day the country registered over 400,000 cases after reporting 412,262 infections on Thursday.

Brent Price Gains 2.1% on Positive Demand Outlook

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