Crude oil and crude ETFs are broadening gains from the prior session on Thursday, as bullish projections of recovering demand, robust U.S. economic data, and a weak dollar mitigate concerns about the surge in coronavirus cases in Brazil, India, and Japan.
Foreign benchmark Brent crude climbed $1.30, or 1.9%, to hit $68.57 a barrel earlier in the session, while the U.S. benchmark, West Texas Intermediate crude, was up $1.21, or 1.9%, at $65.07 a barrel, but has since pared gains to $64.71.
This is the third consecutive day that both contracts have moved higher, as states like California continue to struggle under the weight of spiking gas prices.
Analysts are optimistic that crude ETFs will have more fuel to push higher amid an economic recovery.
“The performance of the past few days demonstrates the unbroken faith of the market in healthy economic and demand recovery,” Tamas Varga, analyst at PVM Oil associates said.
“It also implies that the perilous and devastating COVID nightmare engulfing in India, Japan and Turkey, amongst others, is not expected to have a long-lasting impact on economic expansion.”
Meanwhile, the oil cartel known as OPEC+ remained firm with its decision this week to institute a gradual easing of oil production curbs from May to July.
The cartel predicts global stocks will hit 2.95 billion barrels in July, taking them below the 2015-2019 average.
“A closer look at the state of global oil inventories suggests that the market may be closer to the point of rebalancing than what OPEC+ may think,” Citi analysts said, adding that the market has absorbed most of the crude inventory overhang, although refined products inventories are still relatively high.
Citi envisions that vaccination campaigns in North America and Europe will bolster crude demand to a record high of 101.5 million barrels per day (bpd) over the northern hemisphere summer months, but said the current surge of coronavirus cases in Brazil and India could hamper local demand if stricter lockdown measures are reinstated.
“The outbreak in India is holding back oil’s rally,” Howie Lee, an economist at Singapore’s OCBC bank, said.
Crude investors also considered a gain in U.S. refinery operating rates and a drawdown in distillates stocks last week, based on data distributed by the Energy Information Administration on Wednesday.
For investors looking for crude ETFs to play the run-up in oil, which has been fairly steady since November, the United States 12 Month Oil Fund (USL) and the iPath Pure Beta Crude Oil ETN (OIL) are two funds to consider. They are also both moving higher on Thursday.
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