(Bloomberg) Oil recovered earlier losses to trade above $61 a barrel in New York as the market weighed surging coronavirus cases in India against stronger demand in other key economies.West Texas Intermediate rose 0.2%, having earlier dropped 1.2%. While concern has grown over the scale of the outbreak in India, where cases have topped 300,000 a day, gasoline demand in the U.S. has improved and U.K. road-fuel sales recently exceeded pre-pandemic levels.
On the supply side, the OPEC+ coalition is set to start returning more barrels to the market next month, while traders are also watching for a potential relaxation of American sanctions on Iran, though the U.S. has talked down the prospect of an imminent deal. On Wednesday, U.S. government data showed the first increase in nationwide crude stockpiles in a month.
“The untamed virus in certain parts of the world, coupled with a negative U.S. inventory report and the progress in the Iranian nuclear talks, has made oil bulls careful and conservative,” said Tamas Varga, an analyst at PVM Oil Associates Ltd.
WTI for June delivery rose 0.2% to $61.44 a barrel at 8:50 a.m. in New York
Brent for June settlement added 0.1%, trading at $65.40
Even as persistent Covid crises threaten demand, some countries are mapping out plans to open up. Among them, France will lift curbs on regional movement and reopen schools in the coming weeks, and Greece will ease most lockdown measures in May before welcoming back tourists.
For clues on Indian oil demand in the face of a fast-spreading coronavirus variant, a good place to look is Nigeria’s sales. For now, the Asian country’s buying interest appears to be holding up.
One of Libya’s state oil producers said it would have to cut as much as 100,000 barrels a day of output this week, a further sign that a budgetary crisis is threatening the OPEC member’s energy industry.
Kinder Morgan Inc. emerged as one of the biggest winners from the historic winter storm that crippled Texas after the pipeline operator capitalized on surging energy demand and prices.
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