Oil prices edged higher on Monday, lifted by European economic reopening and rising US demand after prices fell earlier due to surging coronavirus cases in Asia and underwhelming Chinese manufacturing data.

Brent crude rose $0.77, or 1.1%, to $69.48 a barrel by 1626 GMT and US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was up $0.87, or 1.3%, at $66.24. The British economy reopened, giving 65 million people a measure of freedom after a four-month Covid-19 lockdown.

With accelerating vaccination rates, France and Spain have relaxed Covid-related restrictions, and on Saturday Portugal and the Netherlands eased travel restrictions.

The promise of economic growth has supported oil prices in recent weeks, although the pace of inflation has kept many investors concerned that interest rates could rise, which could hit consumer spending.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 18th, 2021.

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