Millennium Post (Kolkata)



WASHINGTON: Oil rose to $67 a barrel on Friday and was heading for a weekly gain as a stronger demand outlook and signs of economic recovery in China and the United States offset rising COVID-19 infections in some other major economies. China’s first-quarter gross domestic product jumped 18.3 per cent year on year, official data showed on Friday.

On Thursday figures showed a rise in U.S. retail sales and a drop in unemployme­nt claims, Reuters reported.

“Given the improving outlook for the world’s two biggest economies, there is little chance of the market’s feel-good glow being extinguish­ed any time soon,” said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM.

Brent crude rose 8 cents, or 0.1 per cent, to $67.02 a barrel by 1145 GMT, on track for a weekly gain of 6.3 per cent after rising for five straight sessions. U.S. West Texas Intermedia­te (WTI) crude fell 14 cents, or 0.2 per cent, to $63.32.

New U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia, one of the world’s top oil producers, over alleged election interferen­ce and hacking could also support prices.

“Though they do not affect the oil sector directly, they could lead to higher financing costs and general uncertaint­y in trade with Russia,” said Eugen Weinberg of Commerzban­k. Helping the rally this week, the Internatio­nal Energy Agency and the Organizati­on of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) both made upward revisions to oil demand growth forecasts for 2021.

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