Meanwhile, demand skyrockets in former Covid hot spot of India: File Image/Pixabay
Ongoing demand recovery once again supplanted Covid fears on Friday in the hearts and minds of investors, with futures in New York ending the week 2.6 percent higher and crude posting its fourth straight monthly gain.
Sentiment was also boosted by India, not too long ago the infection hot spot of the world, rolling back restrictions and posting huge increases in driving activity.
Brent for September, which expired Friday, settled up 28 cents to $76.33 per barrel, and West Texas Intermediate for September delivery rose 33 cents to settle at $73.95 per barrel.
Alexander Novak, deputy prime minister, Russia
Demand is on the rise, consumption is on the rise
Rebecca Babin, senior energy trader at CIBC Private Wealth, US, said, "All the data right now is really positive, that's what you're seeing; we do have tight supplies right now, so it's really hard for the commodity to pull back."
Indeed, while demand is still below where it was in 2019, consumption has exceeded all analytical expectations in the U.S. and is so strong that the Energy Information Administration on Friday pegged May's demand for oil products at 20.094 million barrels per day (bpd), almost 7 percent higher than originally estimated.
Meanwhile in Europe, media reported that the era of big profits had returned as oil giants such as Royal Dutch Shell and TotalEnergies significantly boosted returns to shareholders - a direct outcome of demand recovery.
As for the seemingly incessant fear of the Delta variant, Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates, said, "The oil complex has apparently taken a second look at the coronavirus factor in determining that demand will see only a modest reduction, at least one that will prove minuscule in relation to last year's plunge in consumption."
Alexander Novak, deputy prime minister of Russia, agreed: "Demand is on the rise, consumption is on the rise; of course, the coronavirus is still there but … there are no such lockdowns as there were before."