Oil futures were on track for a third straight gain Thursday, boosted by optimism over the summer demand outlook despite surging COVID cases in India.
West Texas Intermediate crude for June delivery
rose 97 cents, or 1.5%, at $64.83 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. June Brent crude
was up $1.05, or 1.6%, at $68.33 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe. July Brent
the most actively traded contract, rose $1.03, or 1.5%, to $67.81 a barrel.
Data from the Energy Information Administration released Wednesday showed a 90,000 barrel rise in U.S. crude inventories, due largely to imports, while refiners increased throughput and demand for refined products increased, noted Warren Patterson, head of commodities strategy at ING, in a note.
The analyst sounded a note of caution, however.
“While demand appears to be trending in the right direction in the US, there are still clear concerns over the impact that the surge in COVID-19 cases in India is having on fuel demand,” he said, in a note. “There is growing interest from Indian refiners to increase refined product exports, with a number of them offering product to the export market in a bid to tackle building domestic inventories.”
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported that the Biden administration is considering a near wholesale rollback of some of the Trump-era sanctions imposed on Iran in a bid to get Tehran to return to compliance with a landmark 2015 nuclear accord.