Oil prices remained at almost USD 67 per barrel on Friday trading (Saturday Jakarta time). Despite the fall, oil prices have headed for weekly gains as the prospect of stronger demand and signs of economic recovery in China and the United States offset rising COVID-19 infections in several other major economies.
Quoted from CNBC, Saturday (17/4/2021), the price of Brent crude closed 0.24 percent lower at USD 66.77 per barrel. It’s headed for a 6.2 percent weekly gain after rising in the last four sessions.
Meanwhile , US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices fell 0.52 percent and settled at USD 63.13 per barrel.
China’s gross domestic product in the first quarter surged 18.3% year on year. Meanwhile, on Thursday, US retail sales increased and jobless claims decreased.
“Given the improving prospects for the world’s two largest economies, there is little chance of extinguishing the good feeling of the market anytime soon,” said Stephen Brennock of Oil Broker PVM.
New US sanctions on Russia, one of the world’s top oil producers, for alleged electoral interference and hacks could also support prices.
“While it doesn’t affect the oil sector directly, it could lead to higher financing costs and general uncertainty in trade with Russia,” said Eugen Weinberg of Commerzbank.
Revised Oil Demand Predictions
Helping this week’s rally, the International Energy Agency and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have both made upward revisions to their forecast for oil demand growth for 2021.
Figures on Wednesday also showed US crude inventories fell by 5.9 million barrels.
Expectations of demand offset concerns about rising Covid-19 cases in other major countries. India’s infection rate hit a record high while Germany’s chancellor on Friday said a third wave of the virus had taken hold of the country.
Oil prices have recovered from lows caused by the pandemic since last year. This recovery has been helped by record cuts in oil production by OPEC and its allies (OPEC +).
Some of the OPEC + cuts will be eased from May and the group meets on April 28 to consider further changes to the supply pact.