Oil Steadies Near $64 as Market Weighs Demand Against Inflation


© Bloomberg. Oil well pump jacks operated by Chevron Corp. in San Ardo, California, U.S., on Tuesday, April 27, 2021. Oil climbed by the most in nearly two weeks with the OPEC+ alliance and BP pointing to signs of a robust demand recovery taking shape in parts of the world. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg


(Bloomberg) — Oil steadied after the biggest drop in more than a month as investors weighed the outlook for rising demand against accelerating inflation that could cause central banks to pull back from accommodative policies.

West Texas Intermediate traded near $64 a barrel after slumping 3.4% on Thursday, the most since April 5, amid a broad retreat in commodities that followed a pick-up in consumer-price gains. Prices have dropped 1.6% this week, despite a broadly positive assessment from the International Energy Agency that showed the global glut that built up last year has been cleared.

Oil has rallied this year as demand picks up with the roll-out of vaccines, although gains has stalled since early March. Raw materials were buffeted Thursday after the pace of price gains surged in the U.S., stoking speculation the Federal Reserve may dial back its support. Still, a parade of policy makers have insisted that there’ll be no change in the accommodative stance just yet.

The recovery from the outbreak remains patchy, complicating the picture for oil demand. In the latest sign the U.S. is making progress, President Joe Biden’s administration announced that vaccinated Americans can ditch masks in most settings. In Asia, however, Japan signaled that it may extend curbs.

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Elsewhere, India’s largest oil refiner is shopping for crude again after a one-month hiatus, providing some optimism the South Asian country’s demand hasn’t been stalled by a virus resurgence. Indian Oil Corp. issued three tenders to buy crude for loading in the next two months. The significance of the company’s move will depend on how much it actually ends up purchasing.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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