Oil was steady near a two-month high as investors weighed tighter U.S. restrictions to curb the virus spread and emerging cracks in the united front put up by OPEC+ as it struggles to manage the market. Futures were little changed after falling as much as 1.2% earlier after New York City — the country’s early virus epicenter — said it would shut schools due to rising infections. Oil’s rally has paused after gaining 4.2% over the previous three sessions amid positive news on the outlook for a Covid-19 vaccine.
Meanwhile, officials from the United Arab Emirates privately considered the idea of leaving OPEC+ with policy makers growing increasingly frustrated by what they see as an unfair allocation of output targets. The development comes as the alliance debates whether to delay a planned easing of cuts.
Only 35% of Americans will be taking to the roads this year during the Thanksgiving holiday, compared with 65% last year, according to GasBuddy, while in Europe, driving continued to decline.
“With more restrictions, it will hurt mobility and employment, and those will be obvious points of concern for oil traders into year-end,” said Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at Axi. “Asia’s insatiable demand for all things oil is doing the heavy lifting for the market these days and China’s buying binge looks set to carry on into 2021.”
West Texas Intermediate for December delivery slid 4 cents to $41.78 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange as of 7:46 a.m. London time
Prices gained 0.9% on Wednesday to close at the highest level for a front-month contract since Sept. 1
Brent for January settlement added 0.3% to $44.45 on the ICE Futures Europe exchange after rising 1.4% in the previous session