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Markets

Oil prices firm as US inventories decline

  • US oil and gasoline stocks fall as fuel demand rises.
  • OPEC+ impasse fuels uncertainty over global supply.
  • Fears of rising COVID-19 cases also weigh.
Updated 09 Jul 2021

LONDON: Oil prices rose for a second day on Friday as data showed a draw in US inventories but were heading for a weekly loss amid uncertainty over global supplies after an OPEC+ impasse.

Brent crude oil futures were up 66 cents, or 0.9%, at $74.78 a barrel by 1050 GMT. US West Texas Intermediate futures were up 82 cents, or 1.1%, at $73.76.

Prices on both sides of the Atlantic were on track for a weekly loss of nearly 2%, dragged down by the collapse of output talks between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russia, together known as OPEC+.

Oil prices rise after big draw in US crude, gasoline stocks

US crude and gasoline stocks fell and gasoline demand reached its highest since 2019, the US Energy Information Administration said on Thursday, signalling increasing strength in the economy.

"A bullish EIA stock report helped the oil market rebound into the black," said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM.

"Clearly, US oil markets are tight. However ... the only way to prevent further losses is for the threat of an OPEC+ price war to be contained," he added.

Gains in oil prices were capped by worries that members of the OPEC+ group could be tempted to abandon output limits that they have followed during the COVID-19 pandemic, with talks breaking down because of an impasse between major producers Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The two Gulf OPEC allies are at odds over a proposed deal that would have brought more oil to the market.

US oil may rise into $73.87-$74.60 range

Russia was trying to mediate in an effort to strike a deal to raise output, OPEC+ sources said on Wednesday. The United States had high level conversations with officials in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the White House said on Tuesday.

The global spread of the Delta coronavirus variant and worries it could stall a worldwide economic recovery also weighed on oil prices.

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