Crude oil prices were steady on Tuesday, maintaining their two-year-high levels helped by investor confidence over an oil demand recovery throughout the summer driving season, particularly in the US and Europe.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $73.21 per barrel at 06.57 GMT for a 0.48% increase after closing Monday at $72.86 a barrel. Brent earlier hit $73.64, the highest since April 2019 when it traded at $74.42.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded at $71.19 a barrel at the same time for a 0.43% rise after ending the previous session at $70.88 per barrel. WTI reached $71.78 during the previous session, overtaking the highest level since October 2018 when it hit $71.24.
The oil market became tighter with a narrowing supply-demand gap from the uptake in vaccine campaigns worldwide. This has led to a decline in daily virus cases and the lifting of restrictions in the world’s big economies, including Europe and the US.
Road and air traffic in the US and Europe is back to pre-pandemic levels as countries ease mobility restrictions. However, supply concerns remain due to the slow pace of vaccination in some regions.
According to Nasdaq, as of June 1, 38% of the UK’s population is fully vaccinated, while this rate is 19% in the EU and 41% in the US.
The ongoing nuclear talks between the US and Iran in Austria’s capital Vienna have reached a stalemate. Although a slew of sanctions aimed at Iran's energy industry were lifted last week, sanctions on the country’s oil exports are still in place.
Iran on Monday warned that there was “very little time left” for world powers to revive a 2015 nuclear deal. When sanctions are lifted, experts say Iran can easily produce 3.8 million barrels per day, which was its official OPEC quota.
By Sibel Morrow