Oil prices rose slightly during the week ending Feb. 12 amid growing optimism over an oil demand rebound supported by Saudi production cuts although doubts over vaccine campaigns and negative market projects kept prices under pressure.
International benchmark Brent crude traded at $60.70 at 1228 GMT on Friday, posting a 1.5% increase from Monday when it traded at 0656 GMT at $59.78 per barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded at $57.73 at the same time on Friday, increasing 0.7% relative to $57.35 a barrel on Monday.
Brent oil price started the week trading above $60 a barrel on Monday and reached 13-month highs on Tuesday with growing optimism over an oil demand rebound, boosted by Saudi production cuts and hopes over the US stimulus deal.
The markets have seen a limited fall starting Wednesday, driven by the slow pace of vaccine campaigns, concerns over the availability of vaccines for all countries, and the effectiveness of the existing vaccines amid different variants of the virus.
Negative market outlooks showing weak recovery and low oil demand for the first half of the year by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) added to the downward price trend.
However, the decline in US crude oil inventories and the ongoing production cuts by Saudi-led OPEC and non-OPEC countries limited further declines.
US crude oil inventories declined last week to their lowest level since March last year. According to data released by the EIA on Thursday, inventories fell by 6.6 million barrels, or 1.4%, to 469 million barrels, relative to the market expectation of a build of 1.34 million barrels.
With Saudi Arabia's voluntary reduction, the production cut of OPEC+ will reach 8.125 million barrels per day (bpd) this month and 8.05 million bpd in March, thus reducing output in February by 925,000 bpd and 850,000 bpd in March relative to output rates in January.
By Ebru Sengul Cevrioglu