Oil Declines, on Track for 5th Weekly Gain on Strong Demand

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LONDON Reuters Oil prices fell on Friday, but remained on track for a fifth consecutive weekly gain on expectations demand growth will outstrip supply and OPEC producers will be cautious in returning more supply to the market from August.

Brent was down 14 cents, or 0.2, at 75.42 a barrel at 1142 GMT, but was heading for a 2.6 rise on the week.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate WTI crude fell 19 cents, or 0.3, at 73.11 a barrel, but on track for a 2 weekly gain.

Both benchmark contracts settled at their highest levels since October 2018 on Thursday.

Oil prices have been supported in recent weeks, benefiting from the ongoing decline in global oil inventories as oil demand continues to grind higher, although unevenly, said UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo.

With larger oil inventory declines ahead, we expect oil prices to keep moving higher during 3Q21, he added, referring to the third quarter of this year.

Oil prices also found support as the approval of a U.S. infrastructure bill boosted optimism over the energy demand outlook, analysts said.

All eyes are on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and allies together called OPEC who are due to meet on July 1 to discuss further easing of their output cuts from August.

The producer group has ample space to boost supply without derailing the drawdown in oil stocks, given the rosier demand outlook, said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM.

On the demand side, the key factors OPEC will have to…

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