U.S. oil prices drop on expectations of recovery in Europe, China

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U.S. oil prices drop on expectations of recovery in Europe, China

The prices of oil prices slipped on Friday but were set for their third weekly increase on expectations for a recovery in fuel demand in Europe, China and the United States as rising vaccination rates lead to an easing of pandemic curbs.

Brent crude futures dropped by 23 cents, or 0.3% to $72.29 a barrel at 0145 GMT, reversing most of Thursday's climb to its highest since May 2019.

West Texas Intermediate crude futures dropped 22 cents, or 0.3%, to $70.07 a barrel after climbing 0.5% on Thursday to its highest value since October 2018.

Brent is set for a gain of 0.5% this week while the WTI is expected to climb 0.6%.

If you take the week, we've certainly seen prices rise on some demand hopes, but it was mixed, said Commonwealth Bank commodity analyst Vivek Dhar.

The U.S. stockpile data didn't paint a good picture. We saw gasoline and distillate stockpiles actually surge. He said towards the end of the week that he was a dampener on the spirits.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported on Wednesday that gasoline stocks rose in the week to 4 June to 7 million barrels and distillate stockpiles rose by 4.4 million barrels, both of which are much more than analysts expected. However, data showing traffic in Europe and most of North America returning to pre-COVID 19 levels was encouraging, said ANZ Research analysts in a note.

Currently, Jet Fuel Market shows signs of improvement with flights in Europe rising 17% over the past two weeks, according to Eurocontrol experts.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries reinforced the view of healthy demand, sticking to its forecast that demand in 2021 would rise by 5.95 million barrels per day, up 6.6% from a year earlier.

Overall, the global economic recovery and hence demand for oil is expected to gain momentum in the second half, OPEC said in its monthly report.

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