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Oil prices have increased on Friday, with economy stimulus measures by the world’s richest nations and central banks. The Covid-19 pandemic has hit many major European and American economies, contributing to oil’s continuing slump.

Reuters reported US President Donald Trump has said he might intervene in the Saudi Arabia-Russia price war.

According to the news agency, Brent crude futures LCOc1 rose by 7.4%, or $2.12, to $30.59 a barrel. US crude CLc1 futures for April rose by $2.23 to $27.45 while US crude contracts for May CLc2 was up $2.29, or 8.8%, at $28.20 per barrel.

OANDA senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley was quoted by the news agency as saying: “The outsized gains by WTI (U.S. crude) reflect the hope and not the reality of the US shale industry.

“Once this reality finally sets in, I expect the rally in oil to disappear as quickly as it began.”

Both Brent and US crude have shrunk to about 40% in the past two weeks, since the collapse of a supply cut agreement proposed by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies.

Price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia has led to over-production continuing to suppress oil prices.

UBS oil analyst Giovanni Staunovo said: “Positive risk sentiment and a weaker US dollar are helping crude on Friday. Also, comments from US president Trump that he might get involved in the oil [price] war at an appropriate time is supporting oil.”

Coronavirus global impact

Meanwhile, the Covid-19 death toll has crossed 10,000 worldwide. The confirmed case total has reached more than 224,000, with 84,000 recoveries reported as of the end of 19 March.

Italy has rapidly become the most affected country in Europe, now considered as the epicentre of Covid-19 outbreak. The death toll in the country has increased by 427 in the last 24 hours to 3,405, exceeding the total fatalities reported in China until now.

The UK’s central bank has further reduced interest rates to historic lows, in order to encourage banks to lend.