James Hyerczyk
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WTI and Brent Crude Oil

U.S. West Texas Intermediate and international-benchmark Brent crude oil futures are inching higher on Friday, putting the markets in a position to post a healthy weekly gain. Driving prices higher is a stronger demand outlook and solid economic data from the United States and China that point toward a healthy recovery. The news is helping to limit the impact of rising COVID-19 infections in some other major economies that had weighed on prices for several weeks.

At 12:29 GMT, June WTI crude oil is at $63.53, up $0.02 or +0.03% and June Brent crude oil is at $67.05, up $0.11 or +0.16%.

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Solid Economic Data from US, China Boosting Prices

China’s first-quarter gross domestic product jumped 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.

China reported first-quarter gross domestic product a touch below expectations as industrial production disappointed but retail sales beat.

GDP soared 18.3% in the first three months of the year from a year ago, China’s National Bureau of Statistics said Friday. That’s slightly below expectations of a 19% increase, according to analysts polled by Reuters.

Meanwhile in the U.S., robust retail sales and a significant drop in weekly jobless claims presented important evidence that the economy may have turned a significant corner.


Supportive Comments from IEA, OPEC

Support is also coming from the news that the International Energy Agency (IEA) and OPEC upwardly revised their global oil demand growth forecasts for 2021 this week to 5.7 million barrels per day (bpd) and 5.95 million bpd respectively.

“Fundamentals look decidedly stronger,” the IEA said in its monthly report.

“The massive overhang in global oil inventories that built up during last year’s COVID-19 demand shock is being worked off, vaccine campaigns are gathering pace and the global economy appears to be on a better footing.’

Daily Forecast

The upside momentum has slowed quite a bit since Wednesday’s strong surge, which could mean traders are raising some concerns over supply. However, even if there is a pullback, the markets will remain well-supported as long as the demand outlook remains strong.

Supply issues include a gradual rise in output in May, June and July from OPEC and its allies, increased supply from Iran and higher U.S. production.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.
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