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Oil prices edged higher on Monday, even as a spike in COVID-19 cases in some parts of Asia raised concerns over slower recovery in fuel demand.

Optimism over the reopening of Europe lent some support as Britain took a big step towards reopening its economy, lifting a number of social restrictions imposed to combat the COVID-19 outbreak.

Brent crude oil futures for July settlement edged up 0.1 percent to $68.78 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 0.1 percent at $65.44 a barrel.

The oil market is largely convinced that a strong recovery in demand is imminent as the developed world reopens.

With climbing vaccinations and dwindling virus cases, investors expect increased demand for gasoline in the U.S. in the coming weeks.

Widespread gasoline shortages that have plagued the U.S. East Coast slowly eased on Sunday as the nation’s biggest fuel pipeline said it was back to delivering “millions of gallons per hour” following last week’s cyberattack.

Meanwhile, U.S energy firms added oil and natural gas rigs for a third week in a row as higher crude prices prompt some drillers to return to the wellpad, energy services firm Baker Hughes Co said on Friday.

In the Middle East, Israel and Gaza’s ruling Hamas militant group faced mounting international calls for a ceasefire in hostilities that entered their second week with no end in sight.


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