Crude oil prices rise above $31 as lockdown easings counter supply glut

Crude oil prices rise above $31 as lockdown easings counter supply glut

Brent futures rose $1.02, or 3.4 per cent, to $30.74 a barrel by 1510 GMT, up about 16 per cent so far this week.

Oil prices settled 5% higher on Friday in their second consecutive week of gains as USA producers cut production with the number of drilling rigs falling to a record low, and as more states moved ahead with plans to relax lockdowns meant to halt the coronavirus pandemic.

WTI crude futures increased $0.49, or 2%, to $24.04 a barrel, at 08:00 MSK, while Brent crude futures were up by $0.48 to $29.94 a barrel at this time, Reuters reported.

Both contracts posted a second week of gains, with Brent advancing over 18% this week and WTI up about 33%.

However, crude is still being pumped into storage, raising the prospect that any gains prompted by stronger demand will be capped.

For now though, soaring inventories are a reminder of excess supply lingering in the market. The next day, the quotes came out again in the plus.

The number of oil and gas rigs operating in the United States is expected to hit an all-time low this week - reflecting data going back 80 years. Market sentiment, however, is still fragile and oil price continues a volatile trajectory.

Oil prices jumped on Thursday following the news that China's exports unexpectedly rose last month and a sharp increase in Saudi Arabia's crude oil official selling prices.

France announced Thursday that it will be lifting its lockdown on May 11.

Germany's federal government and 16 states have agreed on ways to ease the lockdown. Asian refiners were expecting Saudi Arabia to cut the prices of its crude for a fourth straight month in June after Middle East benchmarks slumped on poor refining margins as the coronavirus pandemic slammed demand, according to a Reuters survey. Gasoline supplied to the U.S. market rose to nearly 6.7 million bpd last week, according to estimates from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

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