Oil prices increased by over 3% during the week ending April 30, as gains were suppressed by falling demand especially in India and Brazil, while positive forecasts for the second half of the year supported upward price trends.
International benchmark Brent crude traded at $66.94 at 1100 GMT on Friday, posting more than a 3.48% increase from Monday when trade at 0654 GMT registered at $64.69 per barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded at $63.79 at the same time on Friday, rising over 3.77% relative to $61.47 a barrel on Monday.
Most of the weekly gains came after the meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC oil-producing nations, where major oil producers gave a green light to an improving oil market, citing “unprecedented levels of monetary and fiscal supports”.
Investors interpreted the group’s eagerness to ease production cuts as a precursor to a tighter market and a demand rebound.
A less-than-expected rise in US crude oil inventories reflected positively on prices. Inventories increased by 100,000 barrels to 493.1 million barrels for the week ending April 23, according to the latest data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). The market expectation was for a 375,000-barrel rise.
Meanwhile, major oil companies have posted strong financial results, with BP, Royal Dutch Shell, and Total all reporting higher earnings than a year ago. BP's earnings nearly tripled, while Total's increased by 69%.
However, the upward oil price movements were curtailed by demand worries as India, the world’s third-biggest crude importer, recorded increasing daily coronavirus cases throughout the week.
Reaching 18.7 million total cases, India set another world record for coronavirus cases on Friday, registering 386,452 infections in the past 24 hours.
Second only to the US in terms of COVID-19 fatalities, Brazil’s coronavirus death toll has surpassed 400,000 on Thursday, with 3,001 deaths and nearly 70,000 cases registered in the past 24 hours.
By Sibel Morrow