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Oil prices set for second week of gains on signs of improving demand – Times of India



Crude oil futures were little changed on Friday but on course to rise for a second week amid signs of improving demand and falling oil and fuel inventories in the US, the world’s biggest oil consumer.
Brent futures for August settlement were down 13 cents to $85.58 a barrel by 0927 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures for August delivery were down 10 cents to $81.19.
Prices have risen about 5% this month to their highest in more than seven weeks.
“The seasonal demand increase, as shown by the latest EIA data, renewed confrontation between Israel and Hezbollah, and the hurricane season could sustain price strength into the summer,” Citi analysts said in a note.
US government data released on Thursday showed total product supplied, a proxy for the country’s oil demand, rose by 1.9 million barrels per day (bpd) in the week ending June 14 to 21.1 million bpd.
The data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed a drawdown in US crude stockpiles by 2.5 million barrels rose during the week to 457.1 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations for a fall of 2.2 million.
Gasoline inventories fell by 2.3 million barrels to 231.2 million barrels, the EIA said, compared with forecasts for a 600,000-barrel build.
Demand prospects elsewhere also helped push prices higher.
“Signs of stronger demand in Asia also boosted sentiment. Oil refineries across the region are bringing back some idled capacity after maintenance,” analysts at ANZ Research said.
The head of Lebanon’s Hezbollah this week pledged a full-on conflict with Israel in the event of a cross-border war and also threatened EU member Cyprus for the first time.
Weighing on prices were US data released on Thursday that showed a decline in new unemployment claims, which may lead the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates unchanged. Higher interest rates typically limit economic growth and, in turn, oil demand.





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