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Oil prices near their highest levels since around beginning of pandemic: WSJ
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A booming rally in oil markets has pushed crude prices to their highest levels since near the start of the coronavirus pandemic, powered by production curbs and recovering demand.
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Brent-crude futures, the benchmark in energy markets, have risen more than 50% since the end of October and are approaching $60 a barrel for the first time since Covid-19 began to erode oil demand in early 2020. Futures for West Texas Intermediate—or WTI, the main grade of U.S. crude—last week surpassed $55 a barrel for the first time in over a year.
The speed of the recovery has surprised some investors and analysts, given that coronavirus continues to curtail demand. It has juiced shares of companies including Exxon Mobil Corp. and ConocoPhillips after a troubled 2020 for oil-and-gas producers, making energy stocks the best performers on the S&P 500 this year.
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“The market definitely has some momentum,” said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC, a hedge fund that invests in energy derivatives. “WTI is going to be targeting $60, too.”
Oil is rising against a mixed economic backdrop, with data published Friday suggesting that the labor market faces a long road to recovery. But the stock market continues to power higher, in part because investors expect a new dose of fiscal stimulus and vaccines to goose growth.
American drivers are already paying more thanks to the rally in crude. Nationally, gasoline prices have climbed to an average of $2.46 a gallon from $2.12 at the start of November, according to GasBuddy, which tracks retail fuel prices.