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Oil prices extend gains after retreat
A VLCC oil tanker is seen at a crude oil terminal in Ningbo Zhoushan port, Zhejiang province, China. — Reuters
A VLCC oil tanker is seen at a crude oil terminal in Ningbo Zhoushan port, Zhejiang province, China. — Reuters

Oil prices rose on Wednesday, extending gains from the previous session as improved risk appetite provided support despite data showing an unexpected rise in US oil inventories last week and a weaker demand outlook due to rising Covid-19 infections.

The marker price of Oman’s crude futures contract on the Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME) climbed to $68.75/b on Wednesday after gaining $1.31/b in trading (for September 2021 delivery).

Brent crude futures gained 97 cents, or 1.4 per cent, to $70.32 a barrel at 1136 GMT, having hit a session low of $68.63 a barrel.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose by 87 cents, or 1.3 per cent, to $68.07 a barrel, after falling to $66.44 a barrel earlier on Wednesday.

Both contracts rose by more the $1 on Wednesday.

“Oil ... is appearing to have found support as risk appetite increases once again,” Ricardo Evangelista, ActivTrades analyst said.

“This support comes after the pronounced falls registered during the last few sessions, which were triggered by apprehension over the impact the Delta variant ..., as well as the agreement between Opec+ countries to increase production,” he added.

Oil prices dropped on Monday following a deal by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, together known as Opec+, to boost supply by 400,000 bpd each month from August through December. The sell-off was exacerbated by fears that a rise in cases of the Delta variant of the coronavirus in major markets like the United States, Britain and Japan will affect demand.

A potential rise in US inventories weighed on prices earlier in the session.

JPMorgan analysts said global demand is expected to average 99.6 mbpd in August, up by 5.4 mbd from April. But they also said: “We only see 4Q21 demand recovering another incremental 330,000 vs a normalised 2019 baseline as colder weather sets in for the northern hemisphere and peak travel season is behind us.” (With inputs from Reuters)

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