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Oil Steady Near Two-Year High on Improving U.S. Demand Outlook


   Oil held gains near a two-year high with optimism building about the demand outlook in key regions such as the U.S., even as the coronavirus makes a comeback in parts of Asia.

  Futures in New York traded near $66 a barrel after rising almost 4% over the previous two sessions. The number of passengers at U.S. airports jumped to the highest since the pandemic began, a sign of the domestic travel revival that’s boosting fuel consumption. The rebound in America along with China and parts of Europe is offsetting concerns around weaker consumption in India.

  Oil is up more than 35% this year amid optimism fuel demand will increase as the vaccination drive accelerates across major economies and boosts mobility. The devastating resurgence in India is a reminder that the recovery is going to be uneven and bumpy.

  The prompt timespread for Brent was 32 cents a barrel in backwardation -- a bullish structure were near-dated contracts are more expensive than later-dated ones. That compares with 18 cents a week earlier.

  Passengers checking in through security at U.S. airports surged to 1.85 million on Sunday, the highest since early March 2020, according to Transportation Security Administration data. The flurry of travelers making their way through terminals has steadily climbed for the past month and is now only about 30% lower than levels the TSA saw at the same time in 2019.