US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for May delivery was up $39.00 in thin trade at $1.37 a barrel by 3.56am (GMT) after settling down at a discount of $37.63 a barrel in the previous session. The May contract expires on Tuesday and the more-active June contract rose 96 cents, or 4.7 percent, to $21.39 a barrel. Global benchmark Brent crude for June delivery was down 20 cents, or 0.8 percent, at $25.37 per barrel.
“Demand destruction from COVID-19 will see a slower than expected reopening of the U.S. economy,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at broker OANDA, predicting a weak period for oil prices.
“The WTI crude June contract was able to hold the $20 a barrel level and is seeing a modest gain following the painful rollover of the May contract.”
Oil prices have skidded as travel restrictions and lockdowns to contain the spread of the coronavirus curbed global fuel use, with demand down 30 percent worldwide.
That has resulted in growing crude stockpiles with storage space becoming harder to find.
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5.40am update: Trump to consider halting Saudi oil imports, says US has ‘plenty’
President Donald Trump said on Monday that his administration was considering the possibility of stopping incoming Saudi Arabian crude oil shipments as a measure to support the battered domestic drilling industry.
“Well, I’ll look at it,” Trump told reporters at a daily news conference yesterday after he was asked about requests by some Republican lawmakers to block the shipments under his executive authority.
Trump said he had heard the proposal immediately before the news briefing.
“We certainly have plenty of oil, so I’ll take a look at it,” he said.
US crude oil futures collapsed to trade in negative territory for the first time in history on Monday.
Futures ended the day at a stunning minus-$37.63 a barrel as desperate traders paid to get rid of oil as storage space was close to running out.
The collapse in prices has threatened to tilt the once-booming US oil industry into bankruptcy.
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