Oil rises, Delta outbreaks cloud demand prospects

In this file photo a flare stack is pictured next to pump jacks and other oil and gas infrastructure on April 24, 2020 near Odessa, Texas. (AFP photo)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Oil prices rose on Wednesday, after four days of declines with investors still wary about prospects for stronger fuel demand as the use of rail, air and other forms of transport remained constrained amid surging coronavirus cases worldwide.

Brent crude was up 37 cents at $69.40 a barrel by 0713 GMT. U.S. oil gained 37 cents to $66.96 per barrel.

“In the short term, the oil market may be volatile with frequent pull-backs as crude prices are beginning to struggle as demand in Europe and India faces headwinds,” Reuters cited Avtar Sandu, senior manager, commodities at Philip Futures in Singapore, as saying.

India, the world’s third-biggest crude importer, also started sales of oil to state-run refiners from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), putting in practice a new policy to commercialize federal storage by leasing out space.

A stronger dollar was also hitting commodities across the board, with metals and precious gold in particular as “equally fragile” as oil, ANZ Research told AFP.

Crude is typically in dollars so a stronger greenback makes oil more expensive, hitting demand.

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