Brent oil prices rose on Thursday, briefly touching $70 a barrel for the first time since November as expectations of tight global supply outweighed pressure from rising U.S. production and less robust global demand indicators, ONA reports quoing Reuters.
International benchmark Brent futures settled up 9 cents at $69.40. Brent touched a session high of $70.03, the highest since Nov. 12 when it last traded above $70.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell 36 cents a barrel to settle at $62.10. The contract hit $62.99 on Wednesday, its highest since November.
Brent has gained 30 percent this year, while WTI has risen nearly 40 percent, underpinned by U.S. sanctions on Iranian and Venezuelan crude, OPEC production cuts and rising global demand.
“There is a clear bias to the upside with the supply restrictions,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney.
“And there’s a much better than expected demand picture after the recent China and U.S. PMI numbers, along with a potential kicker from any U.S.-China trade agreement,” McCarthy said.
The Caixin/Markit services purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rose to 54.4, the highest since January 2018 and up from February’s 51.1, a private business survey of China’s service sector showed on Wednesday.