Oil prices rise as bullish demand outlook outweighs India crisis
Oil prices extended gains on Thursday after climbing 1% in the last session as bullish forecasts on improving demand outweighed worries about the effect of surging COVID-19 cases in India, Brazil, and Japan.
Brent crude for June delivery climbed 0.3%, or 22 cents, at $67.49 per barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for June contract gained 0.3%, or 18 cents, at $64.04 per barrel.
OPEC and its allies maintained plans to gradually ease oil production cuts from May to July after the group revised its demand growth to 6 million bpd for 2021. The oil cartel also forecasts global stocks to hit 2.95 billion barrels in July.
Analysts expect swift vaccination campaigns in Europe and North America to boost fuel demand to a record high of 101.5 million bpd while cautioning that surging COVID-19 cases in Brazil and India could hit local demand if fresh restrictions are implemented.
Investors kept an eye on rising U.S. refinery operating rates and a decline in distillate stocks last week. U.S. crude stockpile climbed by 90,000 barrels last week, contrary to analysts’ forecasts for a 659,000-barrel gain.