Oil steady as equities provide support, COVID-19 hits demand outlook

By Laila Kearney NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices were steady on Monday, supported by strong equities and an easing U.S. dollar but pressured by rising coronavirus cases that fed concerns about demand

Reuters September 29, 2020 00:06:10 IST
Oil steady as equities provide support, COVID-19 hits demand outlook

COVID-19 hits demand outlook" src="https://images.firstpost.com/wp-content/uploads/reuters/09-2020/29/2020-09-28T111114Z_2_LYNXMPEG8R0D4_RTROPTP_2_GLOBAL-OIL.jpg" alt="Oil steady as equities provide support COVID19 hits demand outlook" width="300" height="225" />

By Laila Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices were steady on Monday, supported by strong equities and an easing U.S. dollar but pressured by rising coronavirus cases that fed concerns about demand.

Brent crude climbed 39 cents to $42.31 a barrel by 12 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate was at $40.48 a barrel, up 23 cents.

"The rise in daily infections has accelerated and the total number is now very close to 33 million. The most impacted countries are the populous ones," PVM analyst Tamas Varga said.

"The speed with which the virus is spreading is the main

concern for both health officials and financial investors."

Some Midwest U.S. states have seen a 25% jump positive COVID-19 test rates, and the number of new infections nationwide have grown to 46,00 on average each day compared with 35,000 daily two weeks ago.

A rally in global equity markets, which oil prices tend to follow, has helped keep prices from sinking along with the U.S. dollar's fall from a two-month high, said Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates. <.N> <.DXY>

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said the global oil market has been stable for the past few months, but warned of the risks of a second wave of COVID-19 cases.

Despite efforts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies to limit output, more crude is being exported from OPEC producers Iran and Libya.

OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo said on Sunday that commercial oil inventories in OECD countries are expected to stand only slightly above the five-year average in the first quarter of 2021, before falling below that level for the rest of the year.

Meanwhile one of the heaviest clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan since 2016 broke out over the weekend, reigniting concern about stability in the South Caucasus, a corridor for pipelines carrying oil and gas to world markets.

(Additional reporting by Noah Browning and Florence Tan; editing by David Evans, Emelia Sithole-Matarise and David Gregorio)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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