Oil prices mixed even as data from China points to a strong rebound in demand

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Oil futures were attempting to make a fifth consecutive gain on Friday but were currently seeing lackluster trading as investors weighed a robust economic report from China against evidence of rising COVID cases in parts of the world, threatening a irregular recovery from pandemic that depletes demand. So far, energy markets have been bolstered by monthly reports pointing to a healthy recovery from the pandemic, as well as tensions between the United States and Iran and Russia, which could have some impact on crude markets.

On Friday, West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery CLK21, + 0.17% CL.1, + 0.17% was down 13 cents, or 0.2%, to $ 63.33 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after rising 0.5% ago. one day. June Brent BRN00 crude, + 0.27% BRNM21, + 0.27% was trading virtually unchanged at $ 66.95 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe and had reached a notable intraday high above $ 67 on Friday, after the global benchmark index rose 0.5% on Thursday. During the week, WTI was expecting a 6.8% weekly gain, while Brent was on track for a 6.4% gain, based on the most active contracts, FactSet data shows. Those weekly returns would mark the best increase for contracts since the week ending March 5. On Friday, attention turned to China, which reported that its first-quarter gross domestic product rose 18.3% year-on-year. A report on retail sales for the People’s Republic, one of the largest oil importers, also showed an increase of more than 34%. However, global COVID cases remain a key concern. Bloomberg reports that Germany’s healthcare system is being stretched to the brink, with many hospitals overwhelmed by COVID patients and a growing number of cases. Traders also kept an eye on talks between the United States and Iran amid negotiations toward a new nuclear deal. The US sanctions imposed on Russia, for alleged election interference and hacking, were being weighed for their impact on the energy trade. Russia is one of the world’s largest oil producers and a member of the group known as OPEC +, made up of members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies. But oil markets have been supported by upbeat data. On Wednesday, the International Energy Agency raised its outlook for crude demand and a US government report revealed a third week drop in weekly inventories. In its monthly report, the International Energy Agency raised its forecast for global oil demand in 2021 by 230,000 barrels per day from its previous forecast. Now he sees an increase of 5.7 million barrels per day from 2020 to 96.7 million barrels per day this year. Meanwhile, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on Tuesday raised its forecast for global economic growth to 5.4% from 5.1%. In a weekly report also released Wednesday, the Energy Information Administration reported that US crude inventories fell 5.9 million barrels during the week ending April 9. That followed declines in supply in each of the previous two weeks.