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UPDATE 4-Oil above $42 as possible OPEC+ cut extension offsets demand concern

Fri, 23rd Oct 2020 09:24

* COVID-19 surges across U.S.; France extends curfew

* Putin says rollover on OPEC+ oil output curbs possible

* Brent heads for first weekly loss in three
(Updates prices)

By Alex Lawler

LONDON, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Oil rose further above $42 a
barrel on Friday, heading for a weekly drop, as demand concerns
raised by surging coronavirus cases in the United States and
Europe were offset by the prospect of an extension to OPEC-led
supply curbs.

Several U.S. states reported record daily increases in
infections on Thursday, while France extended curfews for about
two thirds of its population as the second wave of the COVID-19
pandemic sweeps across Europe.

Brent crude rose 20 cents, or 0.5%, to $42.66 a
barrel by 1140 GMT, having gained 1.7% on Thursday. U.S. crude
added 15 cents, or 0.4%, to $40.79. Both contracts are
heading for a weekly loss.

"There is little in the way of support from the demand side
in view of the extremely high number of new COVID-19 cases,"
said Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg. "There is also pressure
on prices from the supply side."

Libyan output, which had been mostly offline since January,
has reached 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) and will rise further
by the end of October.

Oil gained some support from comments by Russian President
Vladimir Putin on Thursday that Moscow did not rule out
extending OPEC+ oil output cuts.

"The only bullish piece of news comes from Russia," said
Bjornar Tonhaugen of Rystad Energy.

OPEC+, a group that includes Russia and the Organization of
the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), is due to increase
production by 2 million bpd in January 2021 as part of a plan to
pump more as demand recovers.

However, the second wave of the pandemic and resulting
slowdown in the demand recovery have raised the question of
whether the increase is premature.

OPEC+ made a record supply cut from May, which boosted
prices from historic lows. Brent is up from a 21-year low below
$16 in April.
(Additional reporting by Aaron Sheldrick
Editing by Alex Richardson and David Goodman)

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