Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

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

Brent crude was down by 21 US cents, or 0.3%, at $66.37 a barrel by 1.29am GMT, after gaining 4.6% on Wednesday and closing at the highest since March 17.

US West Texas Intermediate futures dropped 25c, or 0.4%, to $62.9 a barrel, having risen 4.9% in the previous session.

US crude inventories were down by 5.9-million barrels last week, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Wednesday, more than double analysts’ expectations for a 2.9 million-barrel decline. East Coast crude stocks hit a record low.

“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 said in a note.

Petrol supplied to the market last week, an indicator of US consumption of the fuel, increased to 8.9-million barrels per day (bpd), the highest since August, the EIA report said.

Global oil demand and supply are set to be rebalanced in the second half of 2021 after the evaporation of demand in 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic raged, according to the IEA’s monthly report.

Producers may then need to pump a further 2-million bpd to meet the demand.

Oil cartel Opec, which has been withholding supply in tandem with other producers including Russia, this week raised its forecast for global oil demand in 2021.

Opec expects demand to rise by 70,000 bpd from March’s forecast and global demand is likely to rise by 5.95-million bpd in 2021, it said. 



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