Oil rises to $67/barrel on demand hopes

Washington: Oil rose to $67 a barrel on Friday and was heading for a weekly gain as a stronger demand outlook and signs of economic recovery in China and the United States offset rising COVID-19 infections in some other major economies. China's first-quarter gross domestic product jumped 18.3 per cent year on year, official data showed on Friday.

On Thursday figures showed a rise in U.S. retail sales and a drop in unemployment claims, Reuters reported.

"Given the improving outlook for the world's two biggest economies, there is little chance of the market's feel-good glow being extinguished any time soon," said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM.

Brent crude rose 8 cents, or 0.1 per cent, to $67.02 a barrel by 1145 GMT, on track for a weekly gain of 6.3 per cent after rising for five straight sessions. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell 14 cents, or 0.2 per cent, to $63.32.

New U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia, one of the world's top oil producers, over alleged election interference and hacking could also support prices.

"Though they do not affect the oil sector directly, they could lead to higher financing costs and general uncertainty in trade with Russia," said Eugen Weinberg of

Commerzbank. Helping the rally this week, the International Energy Agency and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) both made upward revisions to oil demand growth forecasts for 2021.

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