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Brent nears 70 on Rosy U.S. Data, Oil Demand Outlook

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Oil prices pushed higher on Friday, taking Brent to near 70 a barrel as firm U.S. economic data and expectations of a strong rebound in global fuel demand in the third quarter underpinned the market.

Brent crude futures for July gained 32 cents, 0.5, to 69.78 a barrel by 0610 GMT while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for July was at 67.18 a barrel, up 33 cents, or 0.5.

Oil headed higher on robust U.S. economic data and growing sentiment that if the Iran nuclear deal is revived, it will not include an immediate removal of sanctions and that the oil market will not get quickly flooded with excess supplies, OANDA analyst Edward Moya said in a note.

Brent and WTI are both on track to post weekly gains of 5 to 6 as analysts expect global oil demand to rebound closer to 100 million barrels per day in the third quarter on summer travel in Europe and the United States following widespread COVID19 vaccination programmes.

Gasoline demand has now exceeded 2019 levels in many areas, ANZ analysts said in a note, adding that this may be partly offset by weakness in Asia which is suffering a wave of COVID19.

Robust economic data from the United States, the worlds largest economy and oil consumer, also buoyed risk appetite. The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell to the lowest since midMarch 2020, beating estimates.

Balancing expectations of a recovery in demand against a possible increase in Iranian supply, the Organization of the Petroleum…

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