Oil prices edge higher, buoyed by stimulus hopes, weaker dollar


Oil futures gained ground Tuesday, taking a cue from rallying equity markets and a weaker dollar as traders shook off a cut in the International Energy Agency’s forecast for 2021 crude demand.

“Crude prices are rallying following a weaker dollar but are nothing to brag about considering the slide seen at the end of last week,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda, in a note.

West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery
CL.1,
+0.11%

CLG21,
+0.11%

rose 19 cents, or 0.4%, to $52.62 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. March WTI crude
CLH21,
+0.13%
,
the most actively traded contract, was up 20 cents, or 0.4%, at $52.61 a barrel.

March Brent crude
BRN00,
+1.13%

BRNH21,
+1.13%
,
the global benchmark, gained 57 cents, or 1%, to tare at $55.32 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

WTI gained ground last week, while Brent slumped 1.6%. There was no settlement for WTI on Monday when U.S. markets were closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index
DXY,
-0.35%
,
a measure of the currency against a basket of six major rivals, fell 0.3% to 90.526. A weaker dollar can provide a boost to commodities priced in the U.S. unit, making them cheaper to users of other currencies.

Moya said new COVID-19 variants from the U.K. and Denmark have the energy markets nervous that the short-term outlook could worsen.

Meanwhile, IEA on Tuesday cut its forecast for demand in 2021 by 280,000 barrels a day to 5.5 million barrels a day. The bleaker outlook focused mainly on the start of the year, with a 600,000-barrel-a-day cut to its forecasts for the first-quarter, and a 300,000-barrel-a-day cut to its forecasts for the second quarter.



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