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Oil Eyes Highest Finish Since MidMarch on a Stronger Demand Outlook and Drop in U.S. Supplies

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Oil futures traded sharply higher Wednesday, as the International Energy Agency lifted its demand outlook for crude and a U.S. government report revealed a thirdweekly drop in weekly inventories, setting prices up for their highest finish since midMarch.

In its monthly report, the International Energy Agency raised its forecast for global oil demand in 2021 by 230,000 barrels a day from its previous forecast. It now sees an increase of 5.7 million barrels a day from 2020 to 96.7 million barrels a day this year.

Oil prices might be breaking out of their monthlong wicked trading range as the normally pessimistic IEA is sounding pretty darn bullish, said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at The Price Futures Group, in a daily report.

On Tuesday, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries increased its 2021 demand forecast by 100,000 barrels a day. It expects global oil demand to climb by about 6 million barrels a day to reach 96.5 million barrels a day this year. OPEC also raised its forecast for global economic growth to 5.4 from 5.1.

Oil prices responded well to the latest demand updates, which pointed to higher uptake of the commodity as the global economy recovers from the pandemic.

West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery rose 2.50, or 4.2, to trade at 62.68 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after settling above 60 on Tuesday for the first time since April 1.

Global benchmark June Brent crude picked up 2.51, or 3.9, at 66.18 a barrel…

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