Oil Holds Near $85/bbl on Stronger Demand Prospects

LONDON—Oil prices steadied near 2-month highs on Thursday, with Brent crude trading near $85 a barrel buoyed by expectations that a strong economic recovery will boost demand, but rising U.S. inventories and high inflation capped gains. Brent crude futures gained 15 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $84.82 a barrel, by 1024 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 3 cents to $82.67 a barrel. “The main factors driving prices up are … the generally positive market sentiment as Omicron concerns abate and the expectation of continued dynamic economic development,” Commerzbank said. Oil prices rallied more than 50 percent in 2021 and some analysts expect this trend to continue this year, forecasting that a lack of production capacity and limited investment could lift crude to $90 or even above $100 a barrel. Cold weather in North America also supported prices. “It will be interesting to see if the …

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