Oil prices rose on Monday, setting new records boosted by market optimism over a rebound in demand from the removal of mobility restrictions in several developed countries.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $73.03 per barrel at 06.27 GMT for a 0.46% increase after closing Friday at $72.69 a barrel, the highest since May 2019 when it traded at $73.09.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded at $71.23 a barrel at the same time with a 0.45% rise after ending the previous session at $70.91 per barrel. This was the highest level since October 2018 when WTI hit $71.24.
The oil market is currently focused on a demand recovery, with the relaxation in restrictions starting in most European countries and US states against the pandemic as vaccinations pick up the pace and new virus cases decrease. Road and air traffic in these regions also picked up, bolstering the demand outlook.
Higher prices were also backed by optimistic estimates from both the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) for a faster recovery in oil demand.
They forecast a rise in oil demand by 6% in 2021, particularly in the second half of the year.
OPEC said positive mobility developments on the back of easing restriction measures and border openings encouraged an upward revision to the second-quarter data.
By Sibel Morrow