Oil hits 2-yr high near $75 on demand rise

Global oil prices rose for a fifth straight session on Wednesday as the cost of a barrel of oil marches towards $75 a barrel, a global benchmark not reached since late 2018.

Prices are on the rise as demand bounces back from the lows seen during the health crisis when economies were forced into a standstill.

New data released Wednesday in the U.S., the world's largest oil consuming nation, showed crude inventories dropped more than expected, according to two market sources, in a sign of solid demand as the summer driving season kicks in.

That trend is being repeated in many of the world's leading economies, where demand growth is outpacing supply, and analysts predict that will continue to be the case over the coming months.

Some see energy demand returning to pre 2020 levels by the second half of next year.

Adding to the growing supply-demand imbalance, OPEC+ does not appear to be in a rush to widely reopen the spigot after a record cut in production last year. It is still withholding millions of barrels of daily supply from the market.

And then there's Iran. The prospect of a rise in Iranian oil exports looks less likely as talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal drag on.

Global crude prices touched a fresh two-year high on Wednesday.

In the U.S. oil prices have nearly doubled from a year ago.

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