Oil futures settle sharply higher again

Washington, May 5, (dpa-AFX/GNA) - Crude oil prices moved higher on Tuesday, extending gains from the previous session, amid continued optimism about increased demand for fuel in the US and parts of Europe during the northern hemisphere summer.

Traders bet on hopes that relaxations in restrictions on movements in the US with the coronavirus pandemic easing will help lift oil demand.

However, the surge in coronavirus cases in Asia, especially in India and Japan, has raised concerns energy demand from this region will drop amid the rising possibility of shutdowns.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for June ended higher by 1.20 dollars or about 1.9 per cent at 65.69 dollars a barrel. Brent crude futures were up 1.28 dollars or 1.9 per cent at 68.84 dollars a barrel a little while ago.

EU officials on Monday proposed easing restrictions on visiting the 27-nation bloc as vaccination campaigns across the continent gather speed.

Media reports suggest that Britain will announce the green list for countries that people can travel to on holiday shortly.

In the US, New York State, New Jersey and Connecticut will ease most of their pandemic curbs on businesses, including retail stores, food services and gyms, beginning on May 19, the governors of the three states said.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said that U.S. economic outlook has clearly brightened amid faster vaccination rates and fiscal stimulus.

Traders were also looking ahead to weekly oil reports. The American Petroleum Institute will release its report later, while the Energy Information Administration will release its weekly inventory data Wednesday.