Oil up on vaccine hopes

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    NEW YORK – Oil prices rose about 1 percent higher on Friday and posted a third consecutive weekly rise, buoyed by successful COVID-19 vaccine trials, while renewed lockdowns in several countries to limit the spread of the
    coronavirus capped gains.

    Brent crude futures rose 76 cents, or 1.7 percent, to settle at $44.96 a barrel.

    The more active US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) January crude contract gained 52 cents, or 1.2 percent to $42.42 a barrel. The WTI contract for December, which expired on Friday, rose 41 cents, or 1 percent, to settle at $42.15 a barrel.

    Both benchmarks gained about 5 percent this week.

    Prospects for effective COVID-19 vaccines have bolstered oil markets this week. Pfizer
    Inc said it will apply to US health regulators on Friday for emergency use authoritization of
    its vaccine, the first such application in a major step toward providing protection against the new coronavirus.

    “Despite the fact that in reality it will take time for a global vaccine campaign to be implemented, time during which oil demand will suffer, positive news are breaking daily about the vaccine deliveries,” said Bjornar Tonhaugen, Rystad Energy’s head of oil markets.