Oil Set for Best Week Since Early March on Better Demand Outlook

© Reuters.

(Bloomberg) — Oil is heading for the biggest weekly gain since early March on optimism the recovery in demand from the Covid-19 pandemic is improving.

Futures in New York were steady Friday and up almost 7% this week. There are more signs of an economic rebound in the U.S., with jobless claims falling to a new pandemic-era low and retail sales accelerating. That followed government data that signaled rising American gasoline consumption and positive outlooks for the global energy market from the International Energy Agency and OPEC.

The positive momentum has helped oil break out of a narrow range around $60 a barrel, where prices were had been stuck since mid-March. The market may see a temporary lull due to new virus outbreaks, according to the the IEA, but the agency followed OPEC in boosting its full-year estimates for consumption.

The global recovery from the pandemic is uneven, however. While rebounds are gathering pace in the U.S. and China, other nations are grappling with sharp rises in cases. In India, refineries are diverting oxygen produced at their plants to help battle a serious second wave.

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The market is also facing an increase in supply in the coming months, although OPEC said this week that rising demand should trim global stockpiles, while the IEA said the lingering glut was clearing. The OPEC+ alliance is scheduled to start adding more barrels from May.

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