Thursday 1 July 2021 4:00 pm

Oil prices hit highest levels in three years

Global oil prices hit their highest levels in three years today as fuel demand continued to pick up amid the reopening of the global economy after the pandemic.

Both worldwide standard Brent crude and US benchmark WTI topped $75 today, touching their highest prices since October 2018.

The latter’s price picked up a further 2.2 per cent, meaning it has gained more than 10 per cent in the the last month. Brent, up 1.5 per cent, has gained 8.0 per cent in the same period.

The fresh rises came as production alliance Opec+ – the traditional producer cartel and rivals such as Russia – met to discuss boosting production through the summer months.

Sources said that the group was moving towards adding 2m barrels of output a day between August and December.

In the US, crude stockpiles fell last week for the sixth straight week in response to rising demand, data from the Energy Information Administration showed.

Rystad Energy analyst Louise Dickson said: “The market is clearly bullish today, as traders expect a supply increase decision from OPEC+, but in a cautious manner that does not prematurely recall too much supply too soon.

“Maintaining price stability at high levels, while on the same time increasing its output, could be in the best interest of OPEC+ today.”

She added that daily global oil demand was set to increase by some 3m barrels from the end of the summer.

“Prices reflect the immense pressure for OPEC+ to increase supply to ease the oil price rally”, Dickson said.