Oil prices rose week-on-week rebounding from lows near $70 to above $75 a barrel on 4 February on concerns that values fell too much in January.
The US’ benchmark March West Texas Intermediate (WTI) contract was trading at $76.10 a barrel on 4 February, up $3.50 from a week before when it was hit $72.60 a barrel (MEED 31:1:2010).
In Europe, the benchmark March Brent contract was trading at $75.10 a barrel, up $1.20 from $73.90 a week before.
The last price for the average Opec contract was $75.14 on 3 February, up $3.27 from $71.87 a week before.
The rebound in prices came as traders decided that values had fallen too low after two weeks of falls, according to analysts at Barclays Capital, the investment arm of the UK bank.
“Prices were probably a bit too low last week,” says Amrita Sen, an analyst at Barclays.
Prices did not fall on corresponding data showing that demand was weakening, Sen says. Although crude oil stocks have increased in the US in recent weeks, inventories of consumer petroleum products like motor gasoline have fallen, showing that demand is increasing.
Crude oil stocks grew 2.3 million barrels to 329 million barrels in the week ended 29 January, the US’ Energy Information Administration said in a 3 February report. However, gasoline inventories fell 1.3 million barrels to 228.1 million barrels.