Global crude oil set for a second weekly gain


USA benchmark oil prices ended the session 5.1% higher and the week 25% higher as investors shrugged off a massive coronavirus-driven glut of crude and fuel, and instead focused on a gradual recovery of demand and production rates that are starting to fall. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude added 27 cents, or 1.1 per cent, to $24.83.

Brent crude settled up $1.51, or 5.1%, at $30.97 a barrel.

However, crude is still being pumped into storage, raising the prospect that any gains prompted by stronger demand will be capped. The market was now watching for more data that shows that Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies led by Russian Federation - known as OPEC+ - are complying with a record 9.7 million bpd production cuts that began this month, according to Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston.

For now though, soaring inventories are a reminder of excess supply lingering in the market.

Crude oil prices gained traction during the Asian session on Thursday and continued to push higher.

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Saudi Arabia on Thursday announced that in June will raise prices for nearly all its exported varieties, showing, thus, more interested in supporting the oil market than in increasing its stake, according to Bloomberg.

Australia on Friday became the latest country to plan an easing of lockdown restrictions as infections from the coronavirus slow to a trickle, aiming to relax social distancing restrictions in a three-stage process.

In the United States, the biggest oil and oil products consumer, motorists are starting to take to the roads as the lockdowns ease.

That was less than analysts had forecast in a Reuters poll, which suggested a 7.8 million-barrel rise, but the gain highlighted once again how much supply is being stored.

Support for the oil market have expectations of production cuts by the largest manufacturers with the gradual recovery of demand.