SINGAPORE: Oil prices were steady on Thursday following two days of gains after a call from the United States, the world’s top oil consumer, for major producers to boost output reinforced supply concerns as economies ease their coronavirus restrictions.
Brent crude futures edged higher by 5 cents to $71.49 a barrel by 0216 GMT while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures gained by 4 cents to $69.29, report agencies.
Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Wednesday showed that fuel demand in the top global crude user is averaging 20.6 million barrels per day (bpd) over the past four weeks, roughly in line with 2019 levels, and U.S. refiners slightly increased the amount of crude they processed last week.[EIA/S]
OPEC agreed in July to boost output each month by 400,000 bpd over the previous month, starting in August, until the rest of their record cuts of 10 million bpd, about 10% of world demand, made in 2020 are phased out.
However, there are still concerns that the increase will not be enough to meet demand as the U.S. and Europe ease their coronavirus-induced movement restrictions. “The Biden Administration said that the recently agreed production increases will not fully offset previous production cuts imposed during the pandemic,” said ANZ in a note.