Oil prices hold near one-month highs as demand forecasts raised

A worker looks at a pump jack at an oil field Buzovyazovskoye owned by Bashneft company north from Ufa, Bashkortostan, Russia, July 11, 2015. (Reuters)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Oil prices were lower on Thursday though holding near one-month highs after futures jumped in the previous as the International Energy Agency (IEA) and others upgraded forecasts for oil demand as major economies recover from the pandemic.

Brent crude futures fell 3 cents to settle at $66.51 a barrel at 0559 GMT, after gaining 4.6% on Wednesday and closing at the highest since March 17.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures dropped 2 cents to $63.13 a barrel, having risen 4.9% in the previous session.

U.S crude inventories were down by 5.9 million barrels last week, the IEA said on Wednesday, more than double analysts’ expectations for a 2.9 million-barrel decline, according to Reuters.

“We see robust stock draws even after factoring in bearish risks as refinery runs are set to rise sharply in the coming months,” Citi Research analysts told Reuters in a note.

IEA report showed that gasoline supplied to the market last week, an indicator of U.S. consumption of the fuel, increased to 8.9 million barrels per day (bpd), the highest since October, Reuters reported.

Similarly, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on Tuesday raised its global demand forecast by 70,000 bpd from last month’s forecast and now expects global demand to rise by 5.95 million bpd in 2021.

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