International

Oil prices advance on growing fuel demand, even as U.S. coronavirus cases jump

Published on : 2020-06-26


(Reuters) - Oil prices rose on Friday, extending gains on optimism about a recovery in fuel demand worldwide, despite a surge in coronavirus infections in some U.S. states and signs of a revival in U.S. crude production.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 futures gained 25 cents, or 0.7%, to $38.97 at 0643 GMT but were on track for a slight drop for the week.

Brent crude LCOc1 futures rose 32 cents, or 0.8%, to $41.37 and were also heading for a small decline for the week.

Overall, commodities markets were taking a positive view on the global recovery on Friday despite worries about coronavirus flare-ups, said Avtar Sandu, senior manager commodities at Phillip Futures in Singapore.

“Optimism about recovering fuel demand worldwide has been supportive of prices despite an increase in total coronavirus infections worldwide and amid signs that U.S. crude production from shale would grow,” he said.

Analysts said satellite data showing a strong pick-up in traffic in China, Europe and across the United States pointed to an improvement in fuel demand.

Congestion in Shanghai in the past few weeks was higher than in the same period last year, while in Moscow traffic was back to last year’s levels, data provided to Reuters by location technology company TomTom showed.

However, there are fears a spike in COVID-19 infections in southern U.S. states could stall the demand recovery, especially as some of those states, such as Florida and Texas, are among the biggest gasoline consumers.

The global economic outlook has also worsened or at best stayed about the same in the past month, a majority of economists polled by Reuters said, and the recession underway is expected to be deeper than earlier predicted.

“It does appear the market is ignoring supply and demand fundamentals and moving on sentiment,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.

The prospect of increased U.S. crude production also kept a lid on gains on Friday.

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