EghtesadOnline: Oil prices held near 11-month highs on Friday and were on track for a strong weekly gain as Saudi Arabia’s pledge to cut output continued to buoy market sentiment.
Brent crude climbed 13 cents, or 0.2%, to $54.51 a barrel. It touched $54.90 on Thursday, the highest since February, Reuters reported.
US West Texas Intermediate gained 14 cents, or 0.3%, to $50.97. The contract closed up 0.4% on Thursday after also hitting its highest since February at $51.28.
Both benchmarks are on track for gains of about 5% for this week.
Earlier this week Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, said it would cut output by an additional 1 million barrels per day in February and March.
On Thursday, seven North Sea crude cargoes were bought and sold in the trading window operated by Platts, a record amount that trade sources said may reflect tighter supply after the surprise cut.
UBS raised its forecast for Brent to $60 per barrel by mid-year, following Saudi Arabia’s unilateral cut and expectations of a sharp recovery in demand in the second quarter as coronavirus vaccine rollouts revived travel.
Meanwhile, Asian shares rose to record highs on Friday, with Japan’s Nikkei hitting a three-decade peak as investors looked beyond rising coronavirus cases and political unrest in the United States to focus on hopes for an economic recovery later in the year.
The raging pandemic claimed its highest US death toll yet, killing more than 4,000 people in a single day, while China reported the biggest rise in daily cases in more than five months and Japan may extend a state of emergency beyond the greater Tokyo region.