Americans are becoming more and more comfortable gathering friends, returning to offices and attending big events, according to a survey.
Oil prices held close to multi-year highs on Monday, supported by an improved outlook for demand as increased COVID-19 vaccines help raise travel margins.
Brent crude was up 14 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $ 72.83 as of 01:23 GMT. It increased 1.1 percent last week and touched the highest since May 2019 of $ 73.09 on Friday.
The US West Texas Intermediate also rose 14 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $ 71.05 a barrel, after hitting its October 2018 high at $ 71.24 on Friday and rising 1.9 percent a week.
Americans are becoming increasingly comfortable gathering friends, returning to work, and attending large-scale events, according to a CBS News survey, when U.S. daily air travelers exceeded two million for the first time since the pandemic.
Vehicle traffic returns to pre-pandemic levels in North America and much of Europe and more planes are in the air while locks and other restrictions are loosened, leading to three weeks of gains for oil benchmarks.
Turn on the taps
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies, known as OPEC +, need to increase production to meet recovering demand, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said Friday in their monthly report.
The OPEC + group has limited production to support prices after the pandemic swept demand in 2020.
“OPEC + needs to open the taps to keep global oil markets adequately supplied,” the IEA said.
Goldman Sachs said last week it expected Brent to collect $ 80 a barrel by the middle of the year as the implementation of vaccinations stimulates economic activity around the world.
U.S. oil rigs have increased from six to 365, the highest since April 2020, energy services company Baker Hughes Co. said in its weekly report.
It was the largest weekly growth of oil rigs in a month, as drilling companies sought to profit from growing demand.
Crude digested a lot of incremental and bullish news over the past week, with the reopening of the United States and Europe, according to Vandana Hari, founder of Vanda Insights. Prices could rise further in the coming weeks but “at a more gradual pace,” with the market expecting a new impetus, Hari said.
Traders are also following talks in Vienna this week between Iran and world powers to revive a nuclear deal, potentially allowing it to lift U.S. sanctions on the nation’s crude exports. Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi has questioned the possibilities of reviving the pact before citizens elect a new president on June 18. , but will not treat them as a major national priority.
Traders have been optimistic about the scope of further gains, according to weekly data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Money managers have increased their WTI stakes to the most realistic in about three years.