Oil Rally as OPEC Retains Demand Forecast

Crude oil prices rose for this week as demand outlook in the global market improved despite uncertainties, including geopolitical tension in the middle east.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) closed higher for a fifth-straight day on demand hopes and geopolitical worries, though prices failed to break out of the range it has traded within for months.

WTI crude oil for March delivery closed up US$0.62 to settle at US$76.84 per barrel, while April Brent crude, the global benchmark, was last seen up US$0.52 to US$82.15.

Prices rose this week after Israel rejected cease-fire overtures from Hamas, and US strikes on Iranian-backed militias continued, keeping worries of a spreading war in the Middle East high, while gasoline and distillate stocks in the United States fell last week, seen as a positive sign for demand, even as crude oil inventories rose more than expected.

But the bullish notes are offset as rising production from the United States, Canada and other non-OPEC+ countries are offsetting OPEC+ cuts, while demand from China remains weak, leaving oil trading within a tight range for much of the past three months.

“Rangebound is the name of the game so far this year, with fading geopolitical risk a successful strategy … excess spare capacity and a supply-driven market remain structural concerns for market bulls. When paired with geopolitical risk turned reality, the market still cannot break flat price out of the current range,” Michael Tran, a commodities strategist at RBC Capital Markets noted. #Oil Rallies this Week, Prices Remain Range Bound#

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