Oil prices up


    MELBOURNE- Oil prices rose on Thursday, taking the week’s gains to more than 11 percent on growing hopes that the world’s major producers will hold off on a planned supply increase as soaring cases of COVID-19 dent fuel demand.

    US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures climbed 12 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $41.57 a barrel, while Brent crude futures rose 9 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $43.89 a barrel.

    Algeria’s energy minister said on Wednesday that OPEC+ – grouping the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other suppliers including Russia – could extend current production cuts of 7.7 million barrels per day (bpd) into 2021, or deepen them further if needed.

    The weakening outlook has piled pressure on OPEC+ to hold back a supply increase of 2 million bpd scheduled for January, with the market now pricing in a delay, analysts said.

    Both Brent and WTI have soared this week, lifted by hopes that the global coronarivus pandemic can be brought under control after initial trial data showed an experimental COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Pfizer Inc and Germany’s BioNTech was 90 percent effective.