Crude oil prices increased Monday on reports of US President Donald Trump's improving health after he tested positive for COVID-19 last week.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $40.19 per barrel at 0600 GMT for a 2.3% increase after closing Friday at $39.27 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $38.08 a barrel at the same time for a 2.8% increase after ending the previous session at $37.05 per barrel.
Oil prices rose after a doctor from Trump’s medical team announced that the US President could be discharged as soon as Monday from the Walter Reed Medical Center, where he is receiving treatment for the novel coronavirus.
The uncertainty over Trump's health status led to a nearly 4% decrease in oil prices on Friday, further increasing concerns about the global economic recovery with the rising number of coronavirus cases worldwide. According to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University on Monday, the number of global coronavirus deaths reached over 1 million.
Political risk and oil analyst Jose Chalhoub said that oil prices started the week at low levels relative to last week amid the ongoing conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, with the re-imposition of new lockdowns in some major cities like Madrid, and with the surge of coronavirus cases in New York.
“It is important to keep an eye as well on the US president’s health and the political dynamic just a month ahead of the presidential elections and its potential impact on oil prices in the upcoming days,” Chalhoub said.
The increase in the prices was also supported by ongoing strikes in Norway, which cut the country’s oil production by almost 8%.
By Sibel Morrow