Oil hits two-year peak supported by improved demand outlook By Reuters

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© Reuters. An oil pump in Texas, USA, in a photo from Reuters archive.

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – It rose to its highest level in more than two years in volatile trading on Thursday amid optimism about strong economic demand after new US jobless claims fell to their lowest levels since the first wave of Covid-19 in the country last year.

The market witnessed a brief decline after media reports indicated that the United States had lifted sanctions against Iranian oil sector officials.

The US Treasury later said it had lifted sanctions on three former Iranian officials and two companies that were previously involved in trading Iranian petrochemical products. A US official told Reuters the action was “routine” and not related to talks with Iran about reviving a 2015 deal to curb its development of nuclear weapons.

Crude futures rose 30 cents, or 0.4 percent, to a settlement price of $72.52 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate crude rose 33 cents, or 0.5 percent, to end the session at $70.29.

This is the highest closing level for Brent since May 2019 and for WTI since October 2018.

The number of Americans who applied for new unemployment benefits last week fell to the lowest level in nearly 15 months, while consumer prices rose strongly in May, as the economy continued to liberalize from the effects of the pandemic.

“The recent (US) unemployment and jobs data is a positive and certain indication that the recovery is accelerating in the country,” said Louise Dixon, analyst at Rystad Energy.

“More business means more energy consumption, and an improved economy is a necessary prerequisite for increased road and air traffic.”

(Prepared by Mahmoud Salama for the Arab Newsletter)

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