Oil up on projected demand rise, positive US, China economic data

Oil prices rose on Friday over a projected uptake in global oil demand amid gradual vaccine rollouts in the US, Europe and China, and positive economic data from the US and China.

International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $68.50 per barrel at 0633 GMT for a 0.60% increase 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.

Oil prices found support from the easing of Covid-19 restrictions in the US and Europe, while the ongoing vaccine campaigns are raising hopes for an economic recovery. The upcoming summer season also supports higher prices, as more travel is expected to boost gasoline and jet fuel demand.

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.

Source: Anadolu Agency