Oil prices drop, but on track for weekly gain

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imageCommodities1 hour ago (Jul 30, 2021 15:00)

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Crude oil storage tanks are seen from above at the Cushing oil hub, in Cushing, Oklahoma, March 24, 2016. REUTERS/Nick Oxford/File Photo

By Bozorgmehr Sharafedin

LONDON (Reuters) -Oil prices rose on Friday and were on track to post weekly gains, with demand growing faster than supply, while vaccinations are expected to alleviate the impact of a resurgence in COVID-19 infections across the globe.

Brent crude futures for September, which expire on Friday, rose 20 cents, or 0.3%, to $76.25 a barrel by 1338 GMT.

The more active Brent contract for October was up 10 cents, or 0.1%, at $75.20 per barrel.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 13 cents, or 0.2%, to $73.75 a barrel.

But both benchmark contracts were headed for gains of more than 2% for the week.

Even with coronavirus cases rising in the United States, all around Asia and parts of Europe, analysts said higher vaccination rates would limit the need for the harsh lockdowns that gutted demand during the peak of the pandemic last year.

“The oil market no longer appears to be viewing the issue of the Delta variant with quite the same alarm as it was at the beginning of last week,” said Commerzbank (DE:CBKG) analyst Carsten Fritsch.

“There is confidence that the ongoing vaccination campaigns in the industrialised countries will prevent any reintroduction of widespread mobility restrictions,” he added.

Analysts also point to a rapid rebound in India’s gasoline consumption and industrial production following its COVID-19 surge earlier this year as a sign that economies are more resilient to the pandemic.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said that oil consumption was increasing across the globe.

“Demand is on the rise, consumption is on the rise. Of course, the coronavirus is still there but.. there are no such lockdowns as there were before,” he told reporters.

Meanwhile, a Reuters survey found OPEC oil output rose in July to its highest since April 2020, as the group further eased production curbs.

Oil prices will trade near $70 per barrel for the rest of the year supported by the global economic recovery and a slower-than-expected return of Iranian supplies, with further gains limited by new coronavirus variants, a Reuters poll showed.

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia is expected to raise prices across various grades of crude oil it sells to Asia in September for a second straight month, tracking the strength in Middle East benchmarks, trade sources said.

Oil prices rises, on track for weekly gain

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