Oil holds steady near 5-month highs
15 Sep 2017 - 23:46
Amsterdam: Brent oil prices held steady near five-month highs, and were on track for the highest weekly rise since the end of July on higher demand forecasts and the restart of oil-hungry refineries in the United States.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries this week forecast higher demand for its oil in 2018 and pointed to signs of a tighter global market, indicating its deal with non-OPEC states to cut output is helping tackle a glut.
That was followed by a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) saying the glut was shrinking thanks to strong European and US demand, as well as production declines in Opec and non-Opec countries.
“Prices have now advanced for the last two weeks off increased demand forecasts from both Opec and the IEA combined with the near-term demand uplift expected as US oil refineries seek to restart operations post Hurricane Harvey,” analysts at Panmure Gordon said.
Benchmark Brent crude was up 7 cents at $55.54 a barrel at 1117 GMT in a volatile session that stretched from an intra-day low of $54.86 to a high of $55.74 a barrel. The contract was on track for its third straight weekly gain and the highest weekly rise since the end of July.
US West Texas Intermediate crude was up 8 cents at $49.97 a barrel. The contract was set for a more than 5 percent weekly gain, also its strongest in nearly two months.
Oil investors eyed further impact from increasing crudedemand from US oil refineries restarting after hurricane outages. On Wednesday, 13 of 20 affected US refineries were at or near normal operating rates, according to IHS Markit.