Oil price bar­rels ahead as OPEC flags meet­ing

Kuwait Times - - Business -

LONDON: The price of crude oil surged again Fri­day af­ter OPEC said it would talk to non-mem­bers, notably Rus­sia, giv­ing in­vestors hope that they will stop a price war which has cre­ated mar­ket chaos along with crushed de­mand be­cause of the coron­avirus. The Saudi-led OPEC group of oil pro­duc­ers and their al­lies will meet Mon­day via video con­fer­ence, a source close to the car­tel said. “There’s cer­tainly a lot of op­ti­mism that a deal is go­ing to be done,” OANDA an­a­lyst Craig Er­lam told AFP.

Global stock mar­kets fell fol­low­ing an­other set of dev­as­tat­ing Amer­i­can em­ploy­ment num­bers, gloomy eu­ro­zone ser­vices data and news that the num­ber of de­clared COVID-19 in­fec­tions had hit one mil­lion world­wide. The US econ­omy shed 701,000 jobs in March amid the dam­age in­flicted by the coron­avirus shut­downs-sev­eral times the mar­ket’s con­sen­sus fore­cast - while the un­em­ploy­ment rate surged to 4.4 per­cent, the La­bor De­part­ment re­ported.

‘Likely to worsen’

“The mar­kets are di­gest­ing a larger-than-ex­pected drop in March em­ploy­ment, which is likely to worsen on the heels of the past two weeks of spikes in job­less claims that ap­proached the 10 mil­lion mark,” said an­a­lysts at the Charles Sch­wab bro­ker­age.OPEC’s move mean­while sparked fresh spec­u­la­tion of an oil pro­duc­tion cut, one day af­ter US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump sparked a record crude price rally by hint­ing that Rus­sia and Saudi Ara­bia planned to end their price war with a sharp re­duc­tion in out­put. Ac­cord­ing to a Russian source cited by the TASS agency, US of­fi­cials have also been in­vited to take part in the meet­ing. “It is in all par­ties’ in­ter­ests to agree to a sig­nif­i­cant cut,” said Michael Hew­son, an an­a­lyst at CMC Mar­kets.

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