Brent oil price briefly hit over $60 a barrel on Monday on the back of tightened global oil supplies and raised hopes over the passing of the US stimulus package.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $59.78 per barrel at 0656 GMT with a 0.74% increase after closing Friday at $59.34 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded at $57.35 per barrel at the same time for a 0.88% increase after it ended the previous session at $56.85 a barrel.
Brent oil price hit $60.12 a barrel, the highest level since Feb. 20 last year when it traded at $60 a barrel. This was driven by fresh hopes of the much-awaited stimulus plan after the US Senate passed a budget resolution early Friday that would help to easier adopt US President Joe Biden's pledge of a higher package in the coming weeks.
"It's very clear our economy is still in trouble," Biden said, citing weak nonfarm payroll report for January while stressing that more than 10 million people are still out of work.
He said his "American Rescue Plan" would provide $160 billion for the coronavirus strategy, the priority of which is vaccines, and reiterated his commitment for $1,400 in direct checks for individuals.
His stimulus package would also extend unemployment insurance to the end of September. It is scheduled to run out on March 13.
The positive vaccine developments, which are improving demand outlook, also contributed to the bullish oil market sentiment.
Iran on Sunday unveiled its second homegrown COV-Pars vaccine, which is expected to undergo human trials from Monday.
Iran, the worst virus-affected country in the region, will begin a vaccination rollout this week with high-risk groups like healthcare workers, the sick and the elderly using the Russian-made vaccine Sputnik V.
Oil prices have long been supported by vaccine developments in the hope of a demand rebound. Saudi Arabia’s massive production cut pledge on the back of OPEC+ cuts offers a further stimulus to exert an upward oil price trend as investors hope for a drawdown in the supply glut due to the pandemic.
Nevertheless, weak demand concerns still continue to weigh on prices amid a new virus variant spreading in the US and other regions across the world.
“Last week was euphoric for markets in general after the recent meetings of OPEC+ leaving the ongoing production curbs untouched and with a positive outlook for oil demand this year,” Political Risk and Oil Analyst Jose Chalhoub told Anadolu Agency.
Further production cuts of de-facto OPEC leader, Saudi Arabia, will ease the oil market in the coming months, Chalhoub said, although he cautioned that demand is still not reaching pre-Covid levels.
He also warned that another oil price spike is possible after recent statements from Washington on their decision to not lift sanctions against Iran.
By Sibel Morrow