Oil at its highest in two and a half months

(New York) Oil prices climbed Friday to their highest in two and a half months, while the production of black gold from OPEC + may struggle to meet a rise in demand.

The price of a barrel of Brent North Sea oil for March maturity took $1.59 or 1.88% to $86.06, a one-breath high from its 2021 record on Oct. 26 at 86, $40.

In New York, a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for February delivery gained $1.70 or 2.07% to $83.82, its highest since Nov. 9.

Black gold prices thus recorded their fourth week of increases in a row, posting a jump of 5.38% over the week for Brent and 6.30% for WTI.

“The mood of the market is on the rise, many analysts are talking about a barrel soon at 100 dollars, which boosts optimism on prices,” commented Andrew Lebow of Commodity Research Group.

The surge in COVID-19 cases sparked by the Omicron variant could soon peak in the United States, noted the analyst, “suggesting that demand is going to be very strong” in the coming months.

While a month ago investors feared that the new variant of COVID-19 could relaunch a long period of health restrictions, which would have weighed on global travel and therefore on oil demand, Omicron seems to so far have had a limited effect on the global economy.

The climate has also cooled in the United States, which inflates the demand for energy for heating and increases the price of heating oil.

And as consumers’ appetite for fuel grows, producers struggle to meet that demand. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its partners (OPEC+) announce month after month marginal increases in their extraction targets, but are struggling to achieve them.

In addition to severe disruptions in Kazakhstan and Libya due to geopolitical crises, “we are noticing that other producers such as Russia, Angola, Nigeria and Ecuador are not achieving their target”, worry ABN Amro analysts.

They therefore expect oil prices to remain high.

The prospect, according to press reports, that China will divest oil reserves by the end of the month, in accordance with the agreement reached with the United States to bring down energy prices, has hardly had any impact. downward effect on prices.

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