By Laila Kearney
NEW YORK, Jul 1 (.) – Crude prices rose 2% on Thursday, supported by signs that OPEC + could increase production more slowly than previously thought in the coming months.
* Brent crude gained $ 1.22, or 1.6%, to $ 75.84 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate in the United States (WTI) was up $ 1.76, or 2.4%, at $ 75.23 a barrel.
* During the session, both contracts rose more than $ 2 a barrel to hit a peak since October 2018.
* Futures cut their advance after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies (OPEC +) delayed their ministerial meeting until Friday to hold more talks on pumping, sources said, after the United Arab Emirates blocked a plan to an immediate reduction in supply cuts.
* “This delay in conversations is unusual and would appear to indicate some significant disagreement within the organization among the participants,” said Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates.
* OPEC + sources said earlier Thursday that the group is expected to increase production by 400,000 barrels per day per month from August through December 2021.
* WTI climbed more than 10% in June, while Brent added more than 8%, hitting a peak since October 2018.
* Analysts expect oil demand to pick up its pace in the second half of the year, as more people get vaccinated against COVID-19 and travel restrictions are eased.
(Additional reporting by Noah Browning in London and Florence Tan in Singapore; edited in Spanish by Carlos Serrano and Javier Leira)