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Oil hits highest level in a month with signs of increased demand amid coronavirus crisis

15 May 2020 11:57 AM

Oil prices jumped more than 3% during today's trading to reach their highest levels in more than a month amid signs that demand for crude oil is rising.  Reports from China show an increase in the number of refineries that are operating which completes a week of positive news on the supply front.

Brent crude contracts have risen to $32.48 a barrel, the highest since mid-April. Brent crude rose about 7% on Thursday and is heading towards gains of 3% this week after showing increases over the past two weeks.

As for West Texas Intermediate (WTI), it reached $28.72 a barrel, the highest level since 14 April, jumping 9% in the previous session. This is the third consecutive week of increases for WTI with gains of about 15%.

Along with supply cuts by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other major producers, bright spots have also appeared on the demand side, as data released for April today shows a recovery in China's daily use of crude as refiners have stepped up operations.

However, the mood of the market remains somber, with no end in sight to the spread of the coronavirus and the emergence of new infections in some countries where closures have been eased.

Nevertheless, Barclays has still raised its forecast for Brent crude and WTI by $5 - $6 a barrel for 2020 and by $16 a barrel for 2021.

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