Oil Hails Falling US Stocks

Oil prices rose again on Thursday to near pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels, aided in particular by OPEC + ‘s confidence in the economic recovery and a drop in crude stocks in the United States.

A barrel of North Sea Brent for April delivery was up 0.65%, or 38 cents, from Wednesday’s close at $ 58.84. In the morning in London it had reached 59.04 dollars, a high since February 21, 2020.

The US barrel of WTI for the month of March meanwhile appreciated 0.96% or 54 cents to 56.23 dollars. He had received in session Wednesday $ 56.33, a price not seen for more than a year, on January 22, 2020.

“Positive indicators in the United States and a drop in crude inventories announced by the EIA are enough to keep the momentum up” in crude prices, said Jeffrey Halley of Oanda.

On the economic data front, weekly jobless claims in the United States turned out to be better than expected: 779,000 people registered as unemployed, less than the 825,000 expected by analysts.

These data come on the eve of the expected release of the January unemployment rate. It is expected to remain stable from December at 6.7%, while the labor market is expected to strengthen by 50,000 jobs, analysts forecast, a sign of hope for improved demand.

Crude oil reserves in the United States also fell by 1 million barrels last week, according to a report by the United States Energy Information Agency (EIA) released on Wednesday, after having already fallen by 9, 9 million the week before.

This positive signal for the demand of the world’s largest consumer of crude was compounded by optimistic comments from the cartel controlling about half of the world’s supply, namely the members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and their members. allies through the OPEC + agreement.

At the end of a meeting of the 23 members of the alliance on Wednesday, the cartel stressed that the “progressive deployment of vaccines in the world” was “a positive factor (…) which will stimulate the world economy and the demand for oil. ”

The market “feels reassured” by the effort of producers, said Stephen Innes of Axi, who are determined “to quickly eliminate the excess oil left by the pandemic.”

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