Crude oil prices were up on Monday after an upbeat sentiment in the Chinese economy and positive signals in the long-awaited US stimulus talks.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $46.10 per barrel at 0615 GMT for a 2.3% increase after closing Friday at $45.05 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $43.13 a barrel at the same time for a 0.37% increase after ending the previous session at $42.97 per barrel.
Oil markets started the week on an optimistic upswing, with China’s better than forecast official Purchaser’ Managers Index (PMI) data, boosting hopes that the world's second-largest economy is continuing its economic recovery from the impact of COVID-19.
The latest reports that the opposition US Democratic Party might take the White House’s latest offer of a $1.3 trillion stimulus package to help the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic's impact also propped up prices.
A weakening dollar, which makes oil relatively cheaper for foreign currency holders, has boosted demand.
News of Saudi Arabia's discovery of two oil fields tempered prices at a time when there is a move to bring production down to balance falling demand due to the coronavirus.
The number of COVID-19 cases worldwide is now over 25 million, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.
While the US still tops the number of cases with over 5.9 million as of Monday morning, Brazil has more than 3.8 million cases, and India follows with over 3.6 million cases.
By Sibel Morrow