Oil prices rose during trading Thursday, despite the release of US data that revealed a decline in consumer demand for fuel in India and the United States of America.
Brent crude futures rose 18 cents, or 0.25 percent, to $72.40 a barrel by 1024 GMT, close to a peak not seen since May 2019.
US oil futures rose 11 cents, or 0.16 percent, to $70.07 a barrel, still near their highest level since October 2018.
“The market is recovering impressively from the (US) bleak weekly EIA report yesterday, the weekly decline in gasoline demand was particularly disappointing,” said Tamas Varga, analyst at BVM Oil Associates.
He continued, “I will be interested to see if the monthly OPEC report due later confirms the optimistic assessment of demand in the second half of the year. If it does, as expected, it should support oil prices.”
The US Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday that US crude oil stocks, which include strategic petroleum reserves, fell for the eleventh consecutive week as refineries boosted production, but fuel stocks rose sharply due to weak consumer demand.
Crude stocks, excluding strategic petroleum reserves, fell by 5.2 million barrels in the week ending June 4 to 474 million barrels, the third consecutive weekly decline. But fuel stocks rose strongly.
In India, the world’s third largest oil consumer, demand for fuel fell in May to its lowest level since August last year, as a second wave of Covid-19 infections disrupted transportation and reduced economic activity in the country.