Brent crude tops $40

LONDON: Oil prices rose on Monday, with Brent topping $40 a barrel, after Joe Biden clinched the US presidency and buoyed risk appetite, offsetting worries about the impact on demand from the worsening coronavirus pandemic.
Brent crude had climbed 91 cents, or 2.3 per cent, to $40.36 a barrel by 0946 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate crude was at $38.04, up 90 cents, or 2.4 per cent.
“Oil prices surged on Monday benefiting from a risk-on stance and a weaker US dollar driven by Joe Biden becoming president-elect,” said Giovanni Staunovo, an oil analyst for UBS.
Biden will convene a coronavirus task force on Monday to examine the No 1 problem confronting him when he takes office in January.
Oil prices remain under pressure by renewed lockdown measures in Europe aimed at containing a rise in COVID-19 cases.
Keisuke Sadamori, IEA director for energy markets and security, said the new lockdowns appear set to push the outlook for global oil demand toward the downside.
“Major parts of the European continent are in lockdown. This would surely work toward the negative side,” he said.
Meanwhile, the dollar weakened, hitting a 10-week low and boosting commodities priced in the greenback as they became more affordable for investors holding other currencies.
Key members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) are wary of Biden relaxing measures on Iran and Venezuela, which could mean an increase in oil production that would make it harder to balance supply with demand.
However, ING analysts said the return of Iranian oil supply is more likely to happen at end-2021 or in 2022.
China, the world’s top crude importer, posted a 12 per cent decline in October imports compared with September. — Reuters