Oil prices increased on Thursday on the back of positive demand outlooks and a less-than-expected rise in US crude oil stocks although virus cases in India and elsewhere continue to curb upward price movements.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $66.94 per barrel at 0707 GMT for a 0.23% rise after closing Wednesday at $66.78 per barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $64.03 per barrel at the same time for a 0.26% increase after ending the previous session at $63.86 per barrel.
US commercial crude oil inventories increased by 100,000 barrels to 493.1 million barrels for the week ending April 23, according to the latest data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The increase was less than the market expectation of a 375,000 rise to reflected positively on prices.
The upbeat remarks from OPEC+ countries over an expected global economic and oil demand recovery in the second half of the year, including the summer driving season, supported this optimism.
The group agreed to stick to their previous decision to gently raise production, prompting investors to see a tight market on the horizon.
However, the growth in virus cases is ensuring the curtailment of any further price rises.
India marked a new high in coronavirus cases on Thursday, registering a staggering 379,257 new infections in the last 24 hours.
The Health Ministry said that overall cases have now reached 18.3 million, while the death toll stands at 204,832, including 3,645 new fatalities.
Brazil registered 3,163 coronavirus deaths and nearly 80,000 cases in the past 24 hours.
In Japan, the nationwide tally for Wednesday was also the highest since Jan. 16, despite the country's third state of emergency declared on Sunday in Tokyo and three western prefectures, including Osaka.
By Sibel Morrow