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Winter freeze and economic recovery lifts oil prices

An exceptionally cold winter in the US and a mild economic recovery in Europe fuelled stronger than expected demand across developed economies, lifting oil prices in February

WTI, the US benchmark, was trading at around $100 a barrel on 17 February, up from $95/b a month earlier. It was the highest level since mid-October 2013. Brent crude saw smaller gains. It was trading at around $109/b on 17 February, up from around $106.50/b a month earlier. In a note titled The Glut That Never Was, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned that contrary to forecasts of a flood of new supplies, “markets have had to dig deeply into inventories to meet unexpectedly strong demand.” OECD commercial stocks fell by 137 million barrels (1.5m b/d), according to the IEA, the largest quarterly stockpile decline since 1999. OECD demand, led by the US, was surprisingly strong in la

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