Oil rebounds strongly in Asian trade

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SINGAPORE Oil rebounded strongly in Asian trade Thursday on hopes for a US intervention to end a Saudi-Russia price war amid the escalating coronavirus pandemic. Analysts said however the market remained hobbled by low demand because of business shutdowns, the grounding of air travel and other social distancing measures put in place to contain the outbreak. In afternoon Asian trade, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was trading 7.14 percent higher at $21.76 a barrel. International benchmark Brent crude advanced 8.21 percent to $26.77 a barrel. Both benchmarks fell to their lowest levels in 18 years on Monday, with WTI briefly dipping below $20 a barrel. “Oil prices are higher on news that President (Donald) Trump will hold a round table discussion with the country’s top oil executives,” said AxiCorp global market strategist Stephen Innes. The meeting is “presumably to discuss possible coordinated production curtailment measures in an attempt to buy some time for the struggling US shale industry,” he said in a note. Innes said that Trump’s “acknowledging of the problems in the oil patch is critical” as he could be instrumental in resolving the price war that has led to the supply glut. Phillip Futures in Singapore said oil prices were also supported by “reports that Russia does not want to boost its crude oil production in the current environment” and traders expecting US shale producers to “come under pressure to cut production”.—AFP

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