Oil prices continued to rally on Wednesday, with both key crude benchmarks trading above $70 per barrel, the highest since October 2018. At 13:45 GMT, Brent, the international benchmark for two-thirds of the world’s oil, gained 0.65 percent to reach $72.69 a barrel. Likewise, the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) reached $70.40, up 0.50 percent. The price for Opec Basket was recorded at $70.21 a barrel with 0.46 percent gain, Arab Light was available at $72.10 a barrel with 1.91 percent increase, while the price of Russian Sokol reached $73.05 after gaining 2.99 percent. The global benchmarks continued to gain amid stronger demand for crude, backed by the reopening of the global economy, particularly the easing of lockdown restrictions across western nations, and resumption of trade flows, is fuelling demand for crude and other commodities. Oil prices are up about 40 percent year-to-date and are at their highest since October 2018. The higher prices follow a meeting of Opec+ producers earlier this month, in which they stuck to its previously-announced decision to bring 2 million barrels per day of production back to the market, in spite of concerns about an influx of Iranian production should Tehran finalise its nuclear deal with the US. Higher prices are also supported by a drawdown in US crude inventory levels, prompting benchmarks to rally to nearly 20-month highs. Markets also remained buoyant following comments by US secretary of state Anthony Blinken that “hundreds of sanctions” against Iran will continue to hold, as Washington and Tehran try to revive a nuclear deal. According to experts, the crude markets rally would continue as long as Brent is trading above $70 per barrel and WTI held above $68 per barrel. “Otherwise, inflation data or not, Brent crude should target $75.00 a barrel in the week ahead and WTI $73.00 a barrel,” they added.