Oil prices on Friday clung to gains recorded at the last session, following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s indication that he would be prepared to prolong record output cuts as the coronavirus crisis bites harder.
Brent crude dipped by 1 cent at $42.45 a barrel by 01:40 West Africa Time, having climbed by 1.7% on Thursday, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was edged 2 cents lower at $40.62, following a 1.5% gain on Thursday. The two benchmarks are drawing nearer to their first weekly loss in three weeks.
Bonny Light, Nigeria’s banner oil grade, advanced by $1.08 to $42.03 per barrel on Thursday.
Putin declared on Thursday Russia did not see a reason for major oil producers change a pact on easing global supply, but did not rule out oil cut extension in case market conditions demanded that.
His remarks were the clearest hint so far from Russia, one of biggest oil producers in the world, that it is braced for extending historic output control to meet the fall in demand occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.
Russia has joined forces with the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in making the cuts to output that are due to be eased by year end.
“Putin is reinforcing that Saudi/Russian unity is firmly intact and that they will continue to keep the oil prices firm,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.
Yet, an upscale in new coronavirus infections in Europe and the United States will probably limit prices, analysts say, with fresh coronavirus-induced curbs implying more pressure on demand.
Many states in the U.S. reported unprecedented daily surges in infections on Thursday, a proof that the pandemic is spiralling as cooler weather takes hold in several parts of the country.
France prolonged curfews for nearly two-thirds of its population just as Belgium’s foreign minister was taken into intensive care with Covid-19, as the pandemic’s second wave swept across Europe.
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