Futures Movers: Oil edges lower, with Brent hovering near $70 a barrel

United States

Oil futures edged lower Friday, pulling back modestly after a rally led by optimism over U.S. gasoline demand helped push the global benchmark to its highest close since May 2019.

West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery CL.1, -0.38% CLJ21, -0.38% fell 21 cents, or 0.3%, to $ 65.81 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. May Brent crude BRN00, -0.33% BRNK21, -0.33% was off 22 cents, or 0.3%, at $ 69.41 a barrel, after posting the highest finish for a front-month contract since May 28, 2019.

“Oil prices are back in the fast lane, Brent having already put the psychologically important $ 70 per barrel mark to the test once again,” said Eugen Weinberg, commodity analyst at Commerzbank, in a note.

Gasoline futures led the way higher on Thursday, with the April contract RBJ21, +0.46% ending at a 2 1/2-year high, boosted by concerns over tightening U.S. inventories. Gasoline was up 0.6% Friday at $ 2.1508 a gallon

Meanwhile, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on Thursday boosted its outlook for 2021 demand growth.

At the same time, OPEC looks for non-OPEC oil output to recovery by nearly 1 million barrels a day after falling 2.6 million barrels a day last year, Weinberg noted, while OPEC+ is likely to increase output over the course of the year in response to higher prices.

“We therefore believe that prices are already too high and expect them to decline to $ 60 per barrel during the course of the year,” he said. “In the short term, however, higher prices cannot be ruled out given the considerable price momentum and rising investment demand.”