Brent crude prices topped $70 a barrel for the first time in nearly five months on Thursday as tightening supply continues to offset concerns about slowing global demand and rising US shale production. The international oil benchmark rose as much as 1 per cent to $70.03 a barrel, the highest since mid November. Its US counterpart, West Texas Intermediate, gained 0.5 per cent to $62.77. Brent has been flirting with the $70-a-barrel milestone this week, with the rally underpinned by Opec’s intentional production cuts and output drops from sanction-hit Venezuela and Iran. Oil bulls have also been cheered by recent data showing a rebound in US and Chinese manufacturing as well as signs of trade talk progress between Washington and Beijing. Both developments have fuelled hopes that global demand for oil would end up holding up better than expected this year. Financial Times

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