© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Pump jacks work at dusk in an oil field in Midland
By Sonali Paul MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Oil prices rose to their highest levels in a year on Friday, extending a streak of strong gains this week, fueled by continued commitment from producers to contain crude supplies and signals positive economic growth in the United States. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 51 cents, or 0.9%, to $ 56.73 a barrel at 0210 GMT, after hitting a high of $ 56.75, the highest since January 22. from last year. The benchmark contract is on track for a nearly 9% weekly gain, which would be its biggest weekly gain since October futures rose 45 cents, or 0.8%, to $ 59.28 a barrel after hitting a high of $ 59.32, its highest level since February. 20 last year. Brent is on track to rise 6% this week. Markets were buoyed by stronger-than-expected orders for U.S. goods in December, pointing to strength in manufacturing and hopes that lawmakers will swiftly pass the $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan. proposed by President Joe Biden. “OPEC + discipline has been really positive,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets, referring to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its Russian-led allies, together called OPEC +. The alliance this week reaffirmed its support for deep supply cuts that have helped reduce soaring global crude stocks. “And then when we have signs of better economic growth, then it goes up and goes (for prices),” McCarthy said. Chinese demand for is also helping to support the market, as evidenced by the industry tracking two North Sea crude tankers heading to China for March 22 and 24, said Stephen Innes, Axi’s global market strategist. . “When demand drives commodity prices, it has a more bullish impact and leaves a more lasting reflection on price action,” Innes said in a note.