Crude oil prices were up on Monday boosted by China’s plans to import large quantities of US oil in August and September, thereby suppressing worries over a downturn in demand following the coronavirus pandemic.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $45.16 per barrel at 0608 GMT for a 0.8% increase after closing Friday at $44.80 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $42.37 a barrel at the same time for a 0.8% increase after ending the previous session at $42.01 per barrel.
Chinese state-owned oil companies tentatively booked tankers for August and September to carry at least 20 million barrels of US crude.
However, the growing number of COVID-19 cases all over the world and concerns over the effectiveness of steps against the second wave of the virus are limiting an upward price pressure, indicating that global oil consumption is likely to remain low for the remainder of 2020.
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 5.4 million as of Monday morning, Brazil has more than 3.3 million cases, and India follows with more than 2.6 million cases.
New Zealand witnessed a resurgence of the infection since early last week after a break of 102 days with no local cases. So far, 1,631 people have contracted the virus nationwide and 22 have died.
By Sibel Morrow