Brent crude oil prices were up on Friday as the economy of the world’s largest oil consumer US recorded the lowest jobless claims since the coronavirus pandemic hit the country.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $45.11 per barrel at 0602GMT for a 0.3% increase after closing Thursday at $44.96 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate was at $42.38 per barrel at the same time, up 0.33% after ending the previous session at $42.24 a barrel.
Oil markets started the day on an optimistic upswing as expectations that the world economies, especially the US and China will start recovering faster than expected after a worldwide coronavirus pandemic continue spreading all over the world.
For the first time since March 21, first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week dropped below 1 million, a sign that the job market is beginning its rebound from the coronavirus pandemic.
A more than expected fall in the US commercial crude oil inventories provides support for prices, limiting a further decrease as it feeds hopes for an increased oil demand in the world’s largest economy.
However, the rising number of the cases amid the concerns of a second wave of the pandemic caps gains.
The number of COVID-19 cases worldwide is now over 21 million, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.
While the US still tops the number of cases with 5.2 million as of Friday morning, Brazil has more than 3.2 million cases, and India follows it with more than 2.5 million cases.
The number of cases rose to 48 in New Zealand, after 102 days of no cases in the country.
By Sibel Morrow