Oil climbs on demand hopes, India caps gains

Brent crude rose 31 cents, or 0.5%, to $65.71 a barrel at 0838 GMT

  
Parkland Fuel's refinery in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada February 17, 2021. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Parkland Fuel's refinery in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada February 17, 2021. Image used for illustrative purpose.

REUTERS/Jennifer Gauthier

LONDON - Oil rose on Friday, buoyed by hopes demand will recover as economic growth picked up in Europe and lockdowns eased, but prices were still set for a weekly loss as India recorded the world's highest daily total of COVID-19 infections.

Brent crude rose 31 cents, or 0.5%, to $65.71 a barrel at 0838 GMT, and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) U.S. crude gained 40 cents, or 0.7%, to $61.83 a barrel.

Euro zone Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) data for April showed a stronger than expected recovery from the pandemic. 

"Stronger PMIs across Europe, a weaker U.S. dollar, and some European countries planning to ease some of their restrictions are slightly supporting oil prices," UBS oil analyst Giovanni Staunovo said.

"Oil demand concerns in India due to rising COVID cases are capping the upside."

There was also support from some improving conditions in Europe as France said schools would reopen on Monday and domestic travel curbs would end on May 3. 

Both benchmark crude contracts are headed for a weekly loss of nearly 2% due to the resurgence of infections in India and Japan - the world's third and fourth largest oil importers.

Several countries, including Australia, Britain, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates have barred or cut flights from India. 

Economic data in the United States were also positive and the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell to a 13-month low last week. 

"The U.S. oil demand outlook continues to go from strength to strength. Latest weekly jobless claims brought more good macro news for the world’s biggest economy," said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM.

U.S. refiner Valero said gasoline and diesel demand were back to 93% and 100% of the levels they were at before the pandemic. 

(Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin in London, additional reporting by Sonali Paul in Melbourne and Koustav Samanta in Singapore; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Jason Neely) ((bozorgmehr.sharafedin@thomsonreuters.com; Twitter: @bozorgmehr;))

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