Oil price barrels ahead as OPEC flags meeting
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.