Oil Prices Slightly Higher in Holiday Thinned Trade

© Reuters.

By Noreen Burke 

Investing.com – Oil prices edged higher on Monday, as more countries continued to gradually ease coronavirus lockdown restrictions, boosting the demand outlook for the fuel, but gains were muted in holiday thinned trade.

U.S. markets remained closed on Monday for the Memorial Day holiday, while markets in the U.K. were shut for the spring bank holiday.

futures rose by 29 cents or 0.9%, to $33.53 a barrel by 08:30 AM ET (1230 GMT).

was at $35.23 a barrel, up 0.3%.

“Oil markets are focused on the potential for an easing of lockdown measures,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney.

Prices continued to be underpinned by supply cuts after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, reached an agreement last month to limit output amid a massive global supply glut. However, they are also in the shadow of doubts over the long-term outlook for demand, raised by the potential of the pandemic to change consumption habits forever. 

“In the absence of strong government policies, a sustained economic recovery and low oil prices are likely to take global oil demand back to where it was, and beyond,” International Energy Agency head Fatih Birol told Bloomberg in an interview published on Monday.

Energy traders were keeping an eye on mounting tensions between the U.S. and China, the world’s largest oil consumers, over moves by Beijing to impose security legislation on Hong Kong.

Ties between Washington and Beijing have soured since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping have traded barbs over the outbreak, including accusations of cover-ups and lack of transparency.

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–Reuters contributed to this report

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