TOKYO / SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil prices were little changed on Friday, on track for a third consecutive weekly increase, but demand problems stemming from the surge in coronavirus cases and renewed lockdowns in several countries have leveled off additional earnings.
The likelihood of an effective COVID-19 vaccine and the hope that OPEC and its allies would keep production under control bolstered oil markets this week.
Brent futures rose 5 cents, or 0.1% to $ 44.25 a barrel at 0505 GMT.
The more active West Texas Intermediate (WTI) US crude contract was unchanged at $ 41.90 per barrel. The WTI contract for November, which expires Friday, was also stable at $ 41.74 a barrel.
Both benchmarks are up more than 3% so far this week, the slimmest weekly gains of the past three weeks.
Oil markets slashed weekly gains “as the virus outbreak throws a wet blanket over vaccine optimism,” said Stephen Innes, chief global market strategist at Axi.
“But it all depends on OPEC. No formal decision will be taken until the full OPEC + ministerial meeting at the end of this month.
OPEC +, a group that includes the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Russia and other producers, will discuss its production policy at a meeting on November 30 and December 1.
Although the persistent rise in COVID-19 cases continues to cast doubts on the recovery in demand, Brent spreads in 2021 narrowed significantly as demand from Asia was strong and markets remained hopeful. that OPEC and its allies could extend their production cuts.
Oil prices were also supported by signs of movement on a stimulus deal in Washington.
U.S. Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has agreed to resume talks on providing more COVID-19 relief as cases escalate in the United States, Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday , according to CNBC.
“Any stimulus deal made before the holidays will help keep crude prices near the upper limits of its recent trading range,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.
Report by Aaron Sheldrick in TOKYO and Koustav Samanta in SINGAPORE; Edited by Lincoln Feast.