Global prices for crude oil surged for the second straight day on Wednesday ahead of the OPEC+ meeting scheduled for Thursday (today). At 13:10 GMT, Brent, the international benchmark for two-thirds of the world’s oil, gained 0.83 percent to reach $75.38 a barrel. Similarly, the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) reached $73.73, up 1.03 percent. The price for Opec Basket was recorded at $73.84 a barrel with 0.47 percent decrease, Arab Light was available at $74.65 a barrel with 0.82 percent increase, while the price of Russian Sokol reached $74.60 after gaining 0.76 percent. According to analysts, crude prices climbed to their highest since October 2018 on expectations that demand growth will outstrip supply and OPEC+ will be cautious in returning more crude to the market from August. They said the global economy is picking up as key countries overcome the worst of the pandemic. On the other hand, OPEC sees a strong rebound in oil demand in the second half of 2021 with oil inventories shrinking but the producer group also sees coronavirus variants posing a risk to the recovery. Demand in 2021 was expected to grow by six million barrels per day (bpd), with five million bpd of that in the second half, OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo told Tuesday’s meeting of the Joint Technical Committee of OPEC+, an alliance made up of OPEC states, Russia and their allies.