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Weaker Dollar Lifts Oil Prices Amid Demand Worries

By Adedapo Adesanya

Crude oil prices rose marginally on Thursday, April 8 supported by a weaker US Dollar amid concerns of rising COVID-19 cases hurting demand around the world.

During the trading session, the price of the international benchmark, the Brent crude futures, appreciated by 9 cents or 0.14 per cent to trade at $63.29 per barrel, while the US benchmark, the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures, rose by 0.32 per cent or 19 cents to sell at $59.79 per barrel.

Both futures had been threatened in the past few days by COVID-19 pressures but a much weaker US Dollar provided the needed oxygen to remain alive.

The greenback fell to a two-week low against a basket of currencies after data showed a surprise rise in US weekly jobless claims, a major indicator for demand in the world’s largest oil-producing nation.

A weaker dollar makes oil cheaper for holders of other currencies, which usually helps boost crude prices.

The marginal rise in the price of the black gold does not tell the full story as bearish sentiments increased following concerns about fuel demand elsewhere.

India, the world’s third-biggest oil importer, reported a fresh record of daily new coronavirus cases on Thursday. India earlier this week imposed a lockdown on its biggest city, Mumbai, while the resurgence of the virus in the country is potentially threatening fuel demand and crude oil imports.

Other parts of the world also saw a resurgence of cases, as Canada’s province of Ontario imposed a month-long lockdown as of Thursday, closing all non-essential retailers and issuing a stay-at-home order.

In Japan, a major importer of energy including crude oil, the government is considering new stricter emergency measures amid a wave of new cases of the more infectious strains of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, as oil demand remains weakened by the impact of the coronavirus, crude production looks set to rise.

Last week, the Organization of the Producing Countries (OPEC) and its allies (OPEC+) agreed to bring back about 2 million barrels per day (bpd) of production over the next three months.

Iran and the United States held talks with other powers on reviving a nuclear deal that almost stopped Iranian oil from coming to market, reviving tentative hopes that the gulf state might see some sanctions lifted and add to global supplies.

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