(MENAFN - Baystreet.ca) Oil prices have moved above $67 U.S. a barrel, gaining for a fifth consecutive day as signs of economic recoveries in China and the United States fuel stronger demand.
China's first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) rose 18.3% year-over-year, while the U.S. reported a strong rise in retail sales and a drop in unemployment claims.
Brent crude oil responded to the strong economic data by rising 26 cents U.S., or 0.4%, to $67.20 U.S. a barrel, positioning it for a weekly gain of 7%. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude added 16 cents U.S., or 0.3%, to $63.62 U.S. per barrel.
New U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia, one of the world's top oil producers, over alleged election interference and hacking could also support oil prices in the near-term.
Also helping the current oil rally, the International Energy Agency and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) each made upward revisions to their oil demand growth forecasts for 2021.
Figures on Wednesday also showed U.S. crude inventories fell by 5.9 million barrels.
Oil has recovered from pandemic-induced lows seen last year, helped by record cuts to oil output by OPEC and its allies, a group known as OPEC+. Some of the OPEC+ cuts will be eased from May, with the group meeting on April 28th to consider further changes to their supply pact.
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