Oil hits $50/barrel for first time in 2016 amid supply disruptions, surging demand

The price of oil on Thursday went above $50 a barrel for the first time in 2016 as supply disruptions and increased global demand continue to fuel a recovery. The benchmark Brent crude price hit $50.07 a barrel in Asian trade, BBC reported. The rise followed US data on Thursday showing that oil inventories had fallen, largely due to supply disruptions following fires in Canada. Brent crude has now risen 80 percent since it hit 13-year lows of below $28 a barrel at the start of the year. US crude oil inventories fell by 4.2 million barrels to 537.1 million barrels in the week to May 20, according to US Department of Energy data. Canada is the biggest supplier to the US and wildfires in the western provinces have knocked out about a million barrels a day. Talks in recent months between Opec and Russia about freezing oil production had already helped prices recover. Short-term disruptions to oil supplies have also lifted the price, as they have offset higher production from Iran and Saudi Arabia. Demand has also been better than expected from major economies such as China, India and Russia.