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Oil prices rise as market tightens, but demand concerns linger

The Address | Benghazi – Libya

SINGAPORE – Oil prices edged up on Friday, lifted by ongoing supply cuts led by producer club OPEC and by U.S. sanctions on petroleum exporters Iran and Venezuela.

Despite strong price increases this year, there are concerns that an economic slowdown could soon dent fuel consumption.

International Brent crude oil futures were at $71.03 per barrel at 0653 GMT, up 20 cents, or 0.2 percent, from their last close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $63.82 per barrel, up 24 cents, or 0.4 percent, from their previous settlement.

“We see Brent and WTI prices averaging $75 per barrel and $67 per barrel respectively through the rest of this year, but risk is asymmetrically skewed to the upside,” RBC Capital Markets said in a note.

“Geopolitically infused rallies could shoot prices toward or even past the $80 per barrel mark for intermittent periods this summer,” the Canadian bank said.

Oil markets have been pushed up by more than a third this year by supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), U.S. sanctions on oil exporters Iran and Venezuela, and an escalating conflict in Libya.

Reuters

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