Oil Prices Near $52 As Trump Endorses Aid Bill, Bonny Light Sheds $0.37

US President Donald Trump, whose administration is about to wind down, had initially said he would block the $2.3 trillion aid and spending package. Europe, in the meantime, teed off a large-scale vaccination campaign on Sunday.

Brent crude, the benchmark for Nigeria’s oil grades, climbed by 68 cents or 1.3% to $51.97 a barrel at 11:20 West Africa Time, having reached as high as $52.02 in early trade, wiping off an earlier fall. U.S. Wes Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was up by 69 cents or 1.4% at $48.92.

Bonny Light, Nigeria’s flagship oil grade, declined by $0.37 or 0.73% to $50.43 at the previous session. Qua Iboe, another major oil grade, shed 6 cents or 0.12% to close at $51.40 a barrel.

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“The signing of the U.S. stimulus bill, with the possibility of an increased size, should put a floor under oil prices in a shortened week,” Jeffrey Halley, analyst at broker OANDA, said.

Oil prices have rebounded from record lows earlier in the year as the pandemic outbreak hobbled demand. Brent rose to $52.48 on 18th December, its highest point since March.

Yet, the discovery of a new variant of the coronavirus, first detected in the UK and now in other countries, has sparked off movement restrictions, hurting near-term demand and impacting oil prices.

Oil prices are still susceptible to any additional setbacks in plans to curb the virus, Stephen Innes of Axi told Reuters in a note.

Also likely to affect oil prices is a 4th July meeting of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia-led allies, a cartel known as OPEC+. OPEC+ is steadily reducing historic oil supply cuts made this year to strengthen the market.

OPEC is on course to stimulate supply by half a million barrels per day in January in as much as there is no indication of departing from proceeding with the output increase. 

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