Thursday 21 May 2020 3:26 pm

Oil prices hit highest levels since March as demand recovers

Global oil prices today rose to their highest levels since early March as the market grew more stable due to global production cuts.

Worldwide benchmark Brent crude rose 2.5 per cent to reach $36.64, while US standard West Texas Intermediate hit $34.30.

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Both measures were trading at their highest points since 11 March, before a period of historic volatility set in.

The gains were bolstered by the news that contrary to analyst expectations, US crude inventories fell last week, suggesting fuel demand is now beginning to pick up.

Rystad Energy’s senior market analyst Paola Rodriguez Masiu said the price rises were down to an increase in demand and also sweeping production cuts around the world.

She said: “OPEC+ is complying well with its commitments to reduce output, but also US production has declined to such an extent that onshore storages saw some relief last week.

“We are on a clear path to a gradual recovery now”, she added.

Since April saw oil prices crash into the negative for the first time in history, the market has slowly been correcting itself.

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A combination of huge production cuts of 9.7m barrels a day from producer alliance Opec, as well as the cautious restarting of economic activity, have seen prices rise gradually throughout May.

At one point, there were fears that oil production would exceed the remaining capacity to store the commodity, but stocks have remained below record levels.