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Oil Prices Climb on Signs of Strong Fuel Demand Recovery

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Oil prices rose for a second session on Wednesday on signs of strong fuel demand in western economies, while the prospect of Iranian supplies returning faded as the U.S. secretary of state said sanctions against Tehran were unlikely to be lifted.

Brent crude futures were up 32 cents, or 0.4, at 72.54 a barrel at 0640 GMT, having earlier touched 72.83, the highest since May 20, 2019. Brent rose 1 on Tuesday.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate WTI crude futures climbed 31 cents, or 0.4, to 70.36 a barrel, after rising to as high as 70.62, highest since Oct. 17, 2018. WTI prices climbed 1.2 on Tuesday.

Improved demand outlook appears to be bolstering crude oil prices, as the successful vaccine rollouts and summer driving season in the United States and Europe continues to support fuel demand, said Margaret Yang, a strategist at Singaporebased DailyFX.

Recent traffic data suggests travellers are hitting the roads as restrictions ease, ANZ Research analysts said in a note, pointing to TomTom data which showed traffic congestion in 15 European cities had hit its highest since the coronavirus pandemic began.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration forecast fuel consumption growth this year in the United States, the world39;s biggest oil user, would be 1.49 million barrels per day bpd, up from a previous forecast of 1.39 million bpd.

In another positive sign, industry data showed 8849U.S. crcrude oil inventories fell last week, in line with analysts39;…

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