Oil prices remain steady as investors measured hopes for a fuel demand recovery against concerns of new lockdowns due to a surge in the Covid-19 infections.
Brent crude futures increased by $0.15 to reach $43.43, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up by $0.02 at $40.83 a barrel, Reuters reported.
Prices received some support from positive news in vaccine development, as drug manufacturers and medical institutions are in a rush to find a way to counter the global health crisis.
On 20 July, early data released from clinical trials of Covid-19 vaccines increased hopes that a vaccine may be created. However, releases of any breakthrough vaccine will take time to reach the billions of people worldwide.
Meanwhile, in China, some cinemas reopened after closure for over six months. This raised hopes for a recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic in the world’s second-largest economy.
ThinkMarkets market analyst Fawad Razaqzada was quoted by the news agency as saying: “With major economies opening … demand should pick up for oil, and more so if a vaccine becomes available soon.”
However, countries such as the US and India are seeing record highs in daily infections, while Spain and Australia are struggling with renewed outbreaks of the virus.
According to Reuters, over 14.6 million people have been infected with the coronavirus globally, with 606,979 deaths recorded so far.
In a separate move, Chevron announced plans to acquire oil and gas producer Noble Energy in a deal valued at about $5bn, a major energy deal since fuel demand was crushed by the pandemic.