Oil gains on demand hopes, shut-ins

Published May 9, 2020
Brent crude was up by 2.58 per cent, at $30.22 a barrel having fallen nearly 1pc on Thursday.  — AFP/File
Brent crude was up by 2.58 per cent, at $30.22 a barrel having fallen nearly 1pc on Thursday. — AFP/File

LONDON: Oil prices rose on Friday and were on course for a second consecutive week of gains as more countries moved ahead with plans to relax economic and social lockdowns put in place to halt the coronavirus pandemic and as more output was shut in.

Brent crude was up by 76 cents, or 2.58 per cent, at $30.22 a barrel by 1330 GMT, having fallen nearly 1pc on Thursday.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude gained 78 cents, or 3.31pc, to $24.33 after a decline of nearly 2pc in the previous session.

Both contracts are heading for a second week of gains after the lows of April, when US oil crashed below zero, with Brent advancing over 14pc this week and WTI up more than 22pc.

However, crude is still being pumped into storage, raising the prospect that any gains prompted by stronger demand will be capped.

“The market remains very oversupplied, but Opec+ cuts and voluntary curtailments are helping and the modest beginnings of demand recovery could be imminent as lockdowns begin to ease,” said Jefferies equity analyst Jason Gammel.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and allies led by Russia, a group know as Opec+, began implementing a deal on record supply cuts amounting to 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) from the start of May.

North American oil companies are cutting production quicker than Opec officials and industry analysts expected and are on track to withdraw about 1.7 million bpd of output by the end of June.

Published in Dawn, May 9th, 2020

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