Oil rose on Tuesday on expectation of a continuous decline in U.S. oil inventories, recouping some losses from the previous session due to lingering concern over rising cases of the Delta coronavirus variant.
"Some market participants see Monday’s price set-back as a bit exaggerated, considering that we are likely to see another decline in oil inventory this week," UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo said. A preliminary Reuters poll showed U.S. crude and product inventories likely declined last week with both distillates and gasoline stockpiles predicted to have fallen for a third straight week.
Despite recent fluctuations, oil prices are high and healthy, lifting earnings of major oil firms. BP, Diamondback Energy Inc, Continental Resources Inc and Pioneer Natural Resources Co reported strong second-quarter profit this week. Brent prices have risen more than 40% since the beginning of the year.
However, concerns over the spread of Delta variant in the United States and China, the top oil consumers, put pressure on prices. In China, the spread of the Delta variant from the coast to inland cities has prompted authorities to impose strict measures to bring the outbreak under control.
"Delta related concerns will likely keep oil markets volatile over the coming weeks but at the same time we also see flying activity across Europe and the U.S. continue to grind higher, supporting oil demand," Staunovo said.
Iran is Back?
Oil prices also came after pressure on expectations of return of Iranian crude to the markets. Iran's new president, Ebrahim Raisi, said on Tuesday his government would take steps to lift "tyrannical" sanctions imposed by the United States on its energy and banking sectors. Iran and six powers have been in talks since April to revive a nuclear pact. But Iranian and Western officials have said that significant gaps remain.
The sixth round of indirect talks between Tehran and Washington adjourned on June 20, two days after Raisi was elected president. Parties involved in the negotiations have yet to announce when the talks will resume.
(Reuters reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin in London, additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell and Jacqueline Wong)