Oil prices rise as U.S., Europe reopen economies

A Canadian Natural Resources pump jack pumps oil out of the ground near Dorothy, Alberta, Canada, June 30, 2009. (Reuters)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Oil prices rose on Tuesday as hopes of a solid recovery in fuel demand following the reopenings of the U.S. and European economies offset concerns over spreading coronavirus cases in Asia.

Brent crude futures rose 28 cents to $69.74 a barrel at 0624, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude settled 25 cents higher at $66.52.

Reuters reported that the British economy reopened, giving 65 million people a measure of freedom after a four-month coronavirus lockdown.

France and Spain have also relaxed COVID-related restrictions, as vaccination rates have been accelerated.

On Saturday, Portugal and Netherlands eased travel restrictions as well.

Reuters said the promise of economic growth had supported oil prices in recent weeks, although the pace of inflation has kept many investors concerned that interest rates could rise, which could hit consumer spending.

In the United States, New York state will no longer require masks in most public spaces for people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Wednesday, and other regions are opening up their economies as well.

“Behind the gain is growing optimism of strong recovery in gasoline and other fuels in the United States and Europe in light of easing of various pandemic-related restrictions,” Reuters quoted chief analyst at Sunward Trading Chiyoki Chen as saying.

“There are concerns about spreading infection cases in Asia, but it will be solved in a matter of time as the vaccine spreads,” he added, predicting that Brent prices will be headed toward $75 a barrel later this month.

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