Picture: 123RF/PAVEL IGNATOV
Picture: 123RF/PAVEL IGNATOV

London — Oil rose on Friday, buoyed by hopes that demand will recover as economic growth picked up in Europe and lockdowns eased, but prices were still set for a weekly loss as India recorded the world’s highest daily total of Covid-19 infections.

Brent crude rose 31c, or 0.5%, to $65.71 a barrel at 8.38am GMT, and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) US crude gained 40c, or 0.7%, to $61.83 a barrel.

Eurozone purchasing managers’ index (PMI) data for April showed a stronger-than-expected recovery from the pandemic.

“Stronger PMIs across Europe, a weaker dollar, and some European countries planning to ease some of their restrictions are slightly supporting oil prices,” UBS oil analyst Giovanni Staunovo said.

“However, oil demand concerns in India due to rising Covid-19 cases are capping the upside.”

There was also support from some improving conditions in Europe as France said schools would reopen on Monday and domestic travel curbs would end on May 3.

Both benchmark crude contracts are headed for a weekly loss of nearly 2% due to the resurgence of infections in India and Japan — the world’s third and fourth largest oil importers, respectively.

Several countries, including Australia, Britain, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates, have barred or cut flights from India.

Economic data in the US was also positive and the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell to a 13-month low last week.

“The US oil demand outlook continues to go from strength to strength. Latest weekly jobless claims brought more good macro news for the world’s biggest economy,” said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM.

US refiner Valero said petrol and diesel demand were back to 93% and 100%, respectively, of pre-pandemic levels. 

Reuters

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