Oil prices rose amid optimism about vaccination against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes the covid-19 disease, as well as a stimulus package in the United States and growing manufacturing activity in Europe, despite restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.
Brent crude was up $1.08, or 1.7 percent, at $65.60 per barrel and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude gained $1.04, or 1.7 percent, to $62.54 per barrel. Both contracts closed February up 18 percent.
Oil also received support from Saturday’s passage of a $1.9 billion coronavirus relief package in the U.S. House of Representatives. If approved by the Senate, the stimulus package would pay for vaccines and medical supplies and send a new round of emergency financial aid to households and small businesses, which will have a direct impact on energy demand.
The approval of Johnson & Johnson’s covid-19 vaccine also improved the economic outlook.
Growth in China’s manufacturing activity fell to a nine-month low in February, but German activity rose to its highest level in more than three years, improving the outlook for Europe’s largest economy.
Eurozone manufacturing activity accelerated in February on the back of rising demand. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, will meet on Thursday and could discuss the possibility of allowing up to 1.5 million barrels of crude per day to return to the market.
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