Crude oil prices climbed on Thursday, confident of robust demand as US crude oil stocks declined to 18-month lows, and with the US Federal Reserve hinting of a bullish economy, which it said is currently COVID-proof.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $74.43 per barrel at 07.17 GMT for a 0.76% increase after closing Tuesday at $73.87 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded at $73.03 a barrel at the same time for a 0.88% rise after ending the previous session at $72.39 per barrel.
Oil prices found support after the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced Wednesday that the country’s crude oil inventories fell by 4.1 million barrels, or 0.9%, during the week ending June 23, signaling improving demand. With last week’s decline, crude stocks in the country have seen the lowest level since January 2020.
Adding to the upbeat sentiment in oil prices, the Fed signaled indicators of economic activity in its July meeting on Tuesday "with progress on vaccinations and strong policy support.”
The Fed said sectors most adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic showed improvement but have not fully recovered yet.
The Fed Chair Jerome Powell later said in a news conference that inflation had increased notably in the US and would likely remain elevated in the coming months before moderating.
Meanwhile, coronavirus pandemic developments continue to impact oil prices as countries worldwide battle the more contagious and deadlier Delta variant.
According to the real-time statistics website, Worldometer, Thailand registered a record number of daily coronavirus fatalities on Thursday with 165 deaths over the past day, taking the country’s death toll to 4,562.
France will implement a controversial health pass measure in social places starting the second week of August, officials said Wednesday.
The new law on the health crisis, including compulsory vaccination for health care professionals and isolation for coronavirus patients along with an extension of the health pass for entry into public and social places like restaurants, cafes and long-distance transport will take effect from Aug. 9, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said at a news conference.
Meanwhile, Kenya’s Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe warned Wednesday that the nation is at the beginning of a fourth coronavirus wave, citing increased infections./aa