Growing optimism about the world economy’s recovery pushed up oil prices last month according to a monthly oil report from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
The Middle Eastern group’s reference basket – their average benchmark for prices – rose to an average of $112.75 per barrel in February, an increase of $3.47/b or 3.2% compared with the previous month.
“Signs that the economies of the US and China were recovering at a quicker pace than before bolstered confidence that economic growth and oil demand were accelerating,” stated the report released yesterday.
Expectations that world oil demand would “increase faster than previously projected” in 2013 also boosted oil prices, added OPEC.
However by the end of the month, the market’s upward momentum was “hampered” by a loss in confidence in the global economy. This was put down to an unexpected dip in US industrial production on top of political uncertainty in Italy and “lacklustre” GDP data out of Europe, raising questions about oil demand.
The price of OPEC’s reference basket stood at $106.96/b on 11 March.