Oil prices extend gains to multi-year highs on tight supply

Oil prices extended pre-weekend gains on Monday to hit multi-year highs, lifted by tight global supply and strengthening fuel demand in the United States and beyond as economies recover from pandemic-induced slumps.

Brent crude futures rose by $1.10, or 1.3%, to $86.63 a barrel by 1406 GMT, the highest since October 2018.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose $1.46, or 1.7%, to $85.22 and reached their highest level since October 2014.

Both benchmarks closed last week with slight gains despite rising coronavirus cases in Britain and Eastern Europe, signaling a potentially difficult winter ahead.

"The global energy supply crunch continues to show its teeth, as oil prices extend their upward march this week, a result of traders pricing in the ongoing rise in fuel demand – which amid limited supply response is depleting global stockpiles," said Louise Dickson, senior oil markets analyst at Rystad Energy.

Goldman Sachs said a strong rebound in global oil demand could push Brent crude prices above its year-end forecast of $90 a barrel. The bank estimated gas-to-oil switching could contribute at least 1 MM barrels per day (bpd) to oil demand.

After more than a year of depressed fuel demand, gasoline and distillate consumption is back in line with five-year averages in the United States, the world's largest fuel consumer.

Meanwhile, U.S. energy companies last week cut oil and natural gas rigs for the first time in seven weeks even as oil prices rose, energy services firm Baker Hughes Co said on Friday.

Money managers raised their net long U.S. crude futures and options positions in the week to Oct. 19, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Friday, underlining strong market sentiment.

Oil prices have also been bolstered by worries over coal and gas shortages in China, India and Europe, which spurred fuel switching to diesel and fuel oil for power. 

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