U.S. crude oil books second weekly gain as gasoline demand surges

Environment

U.S. crude oil was on pace Friday for a second weekly gain in a row, as gasoline demand has surged to post-pandemic highs.

Oil prices traded flat Friday morning but are ahead more than 3.6% for the week. Gasoline consumption in the U.S. surged to 9.4 million barrels per day, or bpd, last week, the highest level for that time of year since the Covid-19 pandemic ended, according to JPMorgan.

“Gasoline demand in the US has been on a steady rise since the Memorial Day weekend and we expect a further advance as record 71 million Americans are expected to travel during the upcoming July 4th holiday,” JPMorgan analyst Prateek Kedia told clients in a research note.

Here are today’s energy prices:

  • West Texas Intermediate June contract: $81.28 per barrel, down 1 cent. Year to date, U.S. crude oil has gained 13.5%.
  • Brent August contract: $85.68 per barrel, down 3 cents. Year to date, the global benchmark is ahead by 11.2%.
  • RBOB Gasoline June contract: $2.51 per gallon, up 0.58%. Year to date, gasoline is up 19.5%.
  • Natural Gas July contract: $2.72 per thousand cubic feet, down 0.02%. Year to date, gas has increased 8.3%.

Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said prices at the pump could rise after U.S. oil, gasoline, and distillate stocks all fell for the first time in weeks, indicating stronger demand.

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WTI vs. Brent

Global oil demand has risen by 1.4 million bpd so far this month on U.S. gas consumption and robust summer travel in Europe and Asia, according to JPMorgan. Oil inventories rose by 15 million barrels in the second week of June as China restocked, though the investment bank is forecasting drawdowns later this summer.

JPMorgan is forecasting a Brent price of $90 per barrel by September as the market tightens on falling stockpiles due to summer fuel demand.

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