Crude steady as rising European COVID-19 cases offset U.S. oil stock draw
By Scott DiSavino NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices held steady on Thursday as a new wave of coronavirus cases in Europe led several countries to reimpose travel restrictions, offsetting a bullish drop in U.S.
By Scott DiSavino
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices held steady on Thursday as a new wave of coronavirus cases in Europe led several countries to reimpose travel restrictions, offsetting a bullish drop in U.S. crude and fuel inventories.
That puts the premium of Brent over WTI
On Wednesday, prices climbed slightly after government data showed U.S. oil inventories fell last week. [EIA/S]
Still, U.S. fuel demand is subdued as the pandemic limits travel. The four-week average gasoline demand last week was down 9% from a year earlier, government data showed.
"Oil prices (are) stable for now but downside pressure remains ... due to rising COVID numbers across Europe," said Craig Erlam, senior analysts at OANDA.
Britain, Germany and France imposed new restrictions to stem the coronavirus spread - all factors affecting fuel demand. [nL5N2GL2PW]
Prices were also capped by data showing the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly increased last week, supporting views the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic was running out of steam amid diminishing government funding.
On the supply side, the market remains wary of a resumption of exports from Libya, although it is unclear how quickly it can ramp up volumes.
An oil tanker was loading a crude cargo on Thursday from one of three recently reopened Libyan terminals, with more loadings expected over the coming days.
A senior executive at U.S. oil producer ConocoPhillips
(Additional reporting by Ahmad Ghaddar in London, Sonali Paul in Melbourne and Koustav Samanta in Singapore; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Barbara Lewis)
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By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
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