Oil prices skyrocketed on Monday morning as U.S. President Donald Trump’s health appears to have improved after testing positive for the coronavirus on Thursday evening.
At 11:06 a.m. EDT, the price of the WTI benchmark had risen by 6.15% to $39.33. While the gains are substantial for the day, they are still under the $40 per barrel mark, and still under where prices were just a week ago, as both major benchmarks stumbled on Friday as reports came in that President Trump had tested positive.
But by Monday, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows suggested that the President was improving, and was ready to return to work as usual. Meadows also indicated that President Trump could return to the White House later today. The U.S. President also took a few moments out of his hospital sequestration on Sunday to appear in a motorcade to wave to his supporters.
While Trump took criticism for his brash move on Sunday, his appearance instilled confidence in the markets.
The Brent crude benchmark was trading up 5.65%, at $41.49.
Prices were also supported by strike action in Norway that shut down six offshore oil and gas fields on Monday, including four of Equinor’s. More oil and gas field shutdowns are possible in Norway as the strike continues to escalate over pay.
The strike, while painful for Norway, is a welcomed addition to the oil markets who are grappling with low demand and increasing supply out of Libya. Production has ramped up in Libya to almost double following a lifting of the months-long blockade.
In Libya, production is now thought to be near 300,000 bpd. The strike in Norway is estimated to have taken offline 330,000 bpd, more than offsetting any gains in Libya.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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