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Markets

Oil trades near $70 a barrel on improving demand outlook

  • OPEC+ to meet on Tuesday.
  • Producers likely to stick to gradual easing of supply cuts.
31 May, 2021

LONDON: Oil prices firmed on Monday, with Brent trading near $70 a barrel, underpinned by the bright outlook for fuel demand growth in the next quarter, while investors looked ahead to the OPEC+ meeting this week to see how producers will respond.

Brent crude futures rose 98 cents, or 1.5%, to $69.70 a barrel by 1353 GMT. US West Texas Intermediate crude was at $67.26 a barrel, up 94 cents, or 1.4%.

US and UK markets are closed on Monday due to public holidays.

Both contracts are on track for a second monthly gain as analysts expect oil demand growth to outstrip supply despite the possible return of Iranian crude and condensate exports.

"Despite the mobility restrictions that are still in place, oil demand is recovering dynamically around the world," Commerzbank said.

Iran has been in talks with world powers since April, working on steps that Tehran and Washington must take on sanctions and nuclear activities to return to full compliance with the 2015 nuclear pact.

"We see demand outstripping supply in the order of 650,000 barrels per day and 950,000 bpd in Q3 and Q4 respectively," ANZ analysts said, adding that this includes 500,000 bpd of increase in Iranian output.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies including Russia will meet on Tuesday. The group known as OPEC+ is expected to stay the course on its plans to gradually ease supply cuts until July.

A Joint Technical Committee (JTC) for the alliance kept its global oil demand growth forecast for 2021 unchanged at about 6 million barrels per day, two sources from the group told Reuters on Monday.

Separately, crude output in the United States soared 14.3% in March, the Energy Information Administration reported on Friday, while Baker Hughes data showed oil and gas rigs rising for a 10th month in a row last week.

Money managers raised their net long US crude futures and options positions in the week to May 25, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Friday.

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