Crude oil prices rose on Friday afternoon, as week-long tropical storms threatened US Gulf Coast's main petroleum infrastructure area causing major oil facilities to shut down, curbing output.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $45.51 at 1155 GMT on Friday, posting a 1.11% increase from Monday at 0602 GMT when it traded at $45.01 per barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate traded at $43.05 at the same time on Friday relative to $42.39 a barrel on Monday.
Oil markets started the week on an optimistic upswing after US President Donald Trump announced emergency authorization for convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19 patients.
The hopes that a vaccine can be brought to market quickly increased more after the British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca announced on Wednesday that it started clinical trials of an antibody drug to prevent and treat COVID-19. The drug called AZD7442 has the potential to act both as a vaccine and treatment for COVID-19.
Also, Massachusetts-based biotech company Moderna said on Thursday that its experimental coronavirus vaccine developed a similar number of antibodies for people aged 56 years and older as younger adults in a preliminary test, a positive sign for the high-risk age group by quelling concerns that vaccines would not provide as much protection for older adults.
-Oil prices rise to highest level of last five months
Storms in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico brought oil production to a halt and supported price rises throughout the week. The twin storms that forced some energy companies to pull workers from offshore platforms and shut down oil production also pushed crude prices to the highest level seen in five months.
According to the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), approximately 83.4% of the current oil production and 60.1% of the natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico were shut-in.
The phone call between the top US and Chinese officials also contributed to the bullish divergence in oil prices as the move signals positive progress regarding the much-expected Phase 1 trade agreement reached between the two nations in January.
On Thursday, the price increase was supported by a more than expected draw in US oil inventories and a positive global macroeconomic data, which bolstered investor hopes of greater global oil demand.
A further increase in oil prices was capped after reports that the US economy shrank at an unprecedented annual rate of 31.7% during the April-June quarter, recording the sharpest annual fall on record.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) also said on Thursday that G20 countries' international trade saw a sharp fall in the second quarter of 2020, the largest decline since the 2009 financial crisis, due to measures to stem the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
By Sibel Morrow