(MENAFN) Oil prices saw a second consecutive rise on Monday, fueled by the United States' efforts to replenish its strategic reserves, providing some support amidst ongoing apprehensions about an oversupply of crude and sluggish growth in fuel demand for the upcoming year. As of 0119 GMT, Brent crude futures climbed by 0.2 percent, adding 11 cents to reach USD75.95 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate crude futures saw a 0.1 percent increase, gaining seven cents and reaching USD71.30 per barrel.
While both crude oil benchmarks experienced a more than two percent surge on Friday, it marked the seventh consecutive week of decline, constituting the lengthiest period of weekly contraction since 2018. Persistent concerns about a potential supply glut have been influencing this downward trend. In response to weakened prices, the United States has intensified its demand, aiming to augment its Strategic Petroleum Reserve by three million barrels for delivery in March 2024.
Despite the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, collectively known as OPEC+, committing to a production cut of 2.2 million barrels per day in the first quarter of the upcoming year, investors remain skeptical about a tangible reduction in supplies. This skepticism arises from the anticipation of continued production growth in certain countries, leaving OPEC members grappling with the challenges posed by a persistent supply surplus.
In the coming week, market participants are closely monitoring signals related to interest rates emanating from the meetings of five central banks, including the U.S. Federal Reserve. Additionally, U.S. inflation data is under scrutiny to assess its potential impact on the global economy and the trajectory of oil demand growth. These factors contribute to the intricate landscape shaping the trajectory of oil prices in the face of ongoing uncertainties in the energy market.
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