Global oil prices rose to their highest levels in several years as demand for fuels continues to recover amid loosening Covid-19 restrictions.
After rising over 1.0 per cent yesterday, worldwide standard Brent Crude hit $72.83 per barrel earlier today, its highest levels since May 2019.
And West Texas Intermediate also gained a further 0.3 per cent, taking it to $70.62, the highest price since October 2018.
The increases come on the back of yesterday’s report from the American Petroleum Institute of a larger than expected draw on crude inventories as the summer driving season begins.
And prices were helped further by fading hopes that the US might loose sanctions on Iran, which could have seen 1m extra barrels worth of oil flood back into the market.
Rystad Energy’s oil markets analyst Louise Dickson said: “The supercharged multi-year oil prices are a reflection of the improved oil demand sentiment, and along with it, the expectation that crude and products inventories will significantly be reduced in the second half of 2021 as a post-pandemic new normal of oil consumption sets in.
“Tuesday’s API report of another crude draw in US inventories pushed optimism further in Wednesday morning trading and helped prices rise to new highs above the 70-dollar mark, even WTI.”
With demand both returning at a faster pace than expected and oil cartel Opec still curbing production, analysts believe that prices could yet rise even further.
Goldman Sachs has gone as far as predicting that prices will hit $80 per barrel in the fourth quarter, prices not seen on a consistent basis since 2014.