Oil prices rise to one-month high

21 April, 2021 12:00 AM printer

SINGAPORE: Oil prices rose to over one-month highs on Tuesday as a weaker U.S. dollar supported commodities and on expectations that crude inventories fell in the United States, the world’s biggest oil user, though rising coronavirus cases in Asia capped gains.

Brent crude futures for June delivery had risen by 66 cents, or 1 per cent, to $67.71 a barrel as at 0642 GMT after earlier hitting a session high of $67.97, report agencies.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for May delivery, which expire on Tuesday, were up 70 cents, or 1.1 per cent, at $64.08 barrel. The more-active June contract was at $64.02, up 0.9 per cent, or 59 cents.

Buyers using other currencies pay less for dollar-denominated oil when the greenback weakens.

“U.S. dollar weakness continues to offer support to the commodities complex ... despite concerns over oil demand in certain regions,” ING Economics said in a note.

The dollar index slumped to a six-week low against other major currencies on Monday following a plunge in U.S. Treasury yields last week and remained near the low at 91.055 on Tuesday.

Also supporting prices, U.S. crude oil and distillate stockpiles were expected to have dropped last week, while gasoline inventories likely rose, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Monday.

The poll was conducted ahead of reports from industry group American Petroleum Institute (API) due on Tuesday and the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the statistical arm of the U.S. Department of Energy, on Wednesday.

Libya’s National Oil Corp (NOC) declared force majeure on Monday on exports from the port of Hariga and said it could extend the measure to other facilities because of a budget dispute with the country’s central bank.

The disruption could cut Libya’s oil output by 280,000 barrels per day (bpd), knocking production below 1 million bpd for the first time since October, ING said.

Saudi Arabia’s crude oil exports fell to their lowest in eight months in February, the Joint Organisations Data Initiative (JODI) said on Monday, illustrating the world’s biggest oil exporter’s commitment to its voluntarily output cap to support oil prices.

However, surging COVID-19 cases in India, the world’s third-biggest oil importer and consumer, dampened optimism for a sustained recovery in global fuel demand.