Global oil prices increased on Wednesday after OPEC and its allies stuck to their plan to cautiously return oil supply in June and July while expecting fuel demand to rebound strongly during the U.S. summer season, the U.S.-based CNBC reports.
Brent crude futures climbed 37 cents, or 0.5%, to $70.62 a barrel. The U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 32 cents, or 0.5%, to $68.05. Prices rose to their highest since October 2018.
The OPEC and its allies, together called OPEC+, agreed on Tuesday to keep to their plan to gradually ease supply curbs through July.
Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman’s comments after the meeting buoyed the market, saying he saw a solid demand recovery in the U.S. and China, the world’s two biggest oil consumers, and added that the pace of vaccine rollouts “can only lead to further rebalancing of the global oil market”, according to the report.
Market gains over the past two weeks have been capped by concerns about a potential lifting of oil sanctions against Iran, as talks on reviving a nuclear accord made progress, however negotiations hit a roadblock this week. Two Western diplomats and an Iranian official said the talks would likely pause on Thursday, but it was unclear when the talks would resume.
OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo played down any potential disruption to the market, saying the group expected any return of Iranian oil exports “will occur in an orderly and transparent fashion” if and when a nuclear deal is reached.
OPEC+ decided in April to return 2.1 million barrels per day (bpd) of supply to the market from May to July, anticipating rising global demand.