REUTERS

Oil prices extended gains on Thursday after rising 1% the previous session, as bullish forecasts on recovering demand this summer outweighed concerns about the impact of rising COVID-19 cases in India, Japan and Brazil.

Brent crude for June rose 22 cents, or 0.3%, to $67.49 a barrel by 0405 GMT while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for June was at $64.04 a barrel, up 18 cents, or 0.3%, as reported by Reuters.

Read alsoUkraine-China trade up by 20.5% in 2020 – Trade envoyOil cartel OPEC, together with Russia and their allies, a group known as OPEC+, stuck to their plans for a gradual easing of oil production restrictions from May to July, after OPEC raised slightly its demand growth for 2021 to 6 million barrels per day. The group also expects global stocks to reach 2.95 billion barrels in July, taking them below the 2015-2019 average.

The bank also expects vaccination campaigns in North America and Europe to boost oil demand to a record high of 101.5 million bpd this summer while cautioning that rising COVID-19 cases in India and Brazil could hit local demand if deeper lockdowns are re-imposed.

Investors focused on a ramp-up in U.S. refinery operating rates and drawdown in distillates stocks last week, in data released by the Energy Information Administration on Wednesday.

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