Oil rises to fresh multi-year highs on demand recovery

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LONDON — Oil prices rose on Friday to fresh multi-year highs and were set for their third weekly jump on expectations of a recovery in fuel demand in Europe, China and the United States as rising vaccination rates lead to an easing of pandemic curbs.

Brent crude futures edged up 21 cents to $72.73 a barrel to 0810 GMT, after closing at its highest since May 2019 on Thursday.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures also rose 17 cents to $70.46 a barrel, after climbing on Thursday to its highest close since October 2018.

U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs expects Brent crude prices to reach $80 per barrel this summer as vaccination rollouts boost global economic activity.

The International Energy Agency said in its monthly report that OPEC+ oil producers would need to boost output to meet demand set to recover to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022.

“OPEC+ needs to open the taps to keep the world oil markets adequately supplied,” the Paris-based energy watchdog said.

It said that rising demand and countries’ short-term policies were at odds with the IEA’s call to end new oil, gas and coal funding.

“In 2022 there is scope for the 24-member OPEC+ group, led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, to ramp up crude supply by 1.4 million barrels per day (bpd) above its July 2021-March 2022 target,” the IEA said.

Data showing road traffic returning to pre-COVID-19 levels in North America and most of Europe was encouraging, ANZ Research analysts said in a note.

“Even the jet fuel market is showing signs of improvement, with flights in Europe rising 17% over the past two weeks, according to Eurocontrol,” ANZ analysts said. (Reporting by Dmitry Zhdanikov, Shu Zhang and Sonali Paul; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Jason Neely)