Oil prices rose on Tuesday with Brent hitting over $70 a barrel driven by optimistic economic data from the US and China and amid higher demand expectations ahead of the summer driving season.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $70.31 per barrel at 07.14 GMT for a 1.42% gain after closing Monday at $69.32 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was trading at $67.75 a barrel at the same time with a 1.18% increase after ending the previous session at $66.96 per barrel.
Brent oil hit over $70 reinforced by positive economic data from the world's largest oil consumers, China and the US, which also alleviated the demand crisis.
China’s Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) – a survey of sentiment among factory owners – rose to 52.0 last month, highest level since December, signaling greater economic activity, while, according to the gas-pricing website GasBuddy, the demand for gasoline in the US increased by 9.6% over the previous four Sundays, marking the greatest Sunday demand since the summer of 2019.
Further price rises were limited by expectations of a possible return of Iranian oil to the market, as talks between the US and Iran to lift the oil export sanctions and revive a 2015 nuclear deal are underway.
One day before the world’s major oil producers hold their monthly meeting later on Tuesday to revisit production targets, OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said Iran is one of OPEC’s five founding members and its return to the market would not hurt “the relative stability that we have worked hard to achieve since April of last year.”
Barkindo's remarks came during the 52nd Joint Technical Committee (JTC) of the Declaration of Cooperation (DoC) participating countries via videoconference.
By Sibel Morrow