Oil steadies on hopes for U.S. stimulus agreement
Oil prices were steady in early trade on Thursday after U.S. lawmakers postponed a vote on a $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus aid in hopes of reaching a two-way deal, with rising infections weighing on fuel demand.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures slid 1 cent to $40.21 per barrel after gaining 2.4% on Wednesday. Brent crude futures climbed 3 cents to $42.33 per barrel following a 0.2% fall overnight.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that talks about COVID-19 relief legislation with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made progress.
WTI surged on Wednesday after U.S. crude stocks and distillate inventories, including diesel and jet fuel, dropped more than expected this week.
U.S. coronavirus cases surpassed 7 million with a death toll of 206,000. Demand worries persist especially for the city of New York, where infections continue to surge.
Growing supply from OPEC also weighed on the market, with production rising by 160,000 bpd month-on-month in September as Libyan installations reopened and Iran’s exports increased.