Oil Prices Rise On Demand Optimism

Oil prices hit fresh multiyear highs on Friday and headed towards the third weekly gain amid expectations that the recovery in global oil demand will gather strength in the second half of the year.

Benchmark Brent crude futures rose 15 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $72.67 per barrel after closing at their highest since May 2019 on Thursday.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 12 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $70.41, after having ended the previous day at their highest level since October 2018.

OPEC said in its monthly oil market report on Thursday that it expects global oil demand to rise by 6 million barrels per day (bpd) this year from the lows of 2020, led by strong consumption in China and the United States, especially in the second half of the year.

The International Energy Agency predicted in its monthly report that global oil demand will recover to pre-pandemic levels late next year despite uncertainties.

The Paris-based energy watchdog noted that OPEC+ oil producers would need to boost output to meet demand set to recover to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022.

As rising vaccination rates lead to an easing of pandemic curbs, U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs expects Brent crude prices to reach $80 per barrel this summer.

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