London — Oil prices rose on Monday, with Brent topping $40 a barrel, after Joe Biden clinched the US presidency and buoyed risk appetite, offsetting the worry about the effect on demand from the worsening coronavirus pandemic.
Brent crude had climbed 91c, or 2.3%, to $40.36 a barrel by 9.46am GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was at $38.04, up 90c, or 2.4%.
“Oil prices surged on Monday benefiting from a risk-on stance and a weaker US dollar driven by Joe Biden becoming president-elect,” said Giovanni Staunovo, oil analyst for UBS.
Biden will convene a coronavirus task force on Monday to examine the number one problem confronting him when he takes office in January.
Oil prices remain under pressure by renewed lockdown measures in Europe aimed at containing a rise in Covid-19 cases.
Keisuke Sadamori, IEA director for energy markets and security, told Reuters the new lockdowns appear set to push the outlook for global oil demand towards the downside.
“Major parts of the European continent are in lockdown. This would surely work towards the negative side,” he said.
Meanwhile, the dollar weakened, hitting a 10-week low and boosting commodities priced in the greenback as they became more affordable for investors holding other currencies.
Key members of oil cartel Opec are wary of Biden relaxing measures on Iran and Venezuela, which could mean an increase in oil production that would make it harder to balance supply with demand.
However, ING analysts said the return of Iranian oil supply is more likely to happen at end-2021 or in 2022.
China, the world’s top crude importer, posted a 12% decline in October imports compared with September.
This data may be bearish for global commodity markets, said Lee: “China might be near the end of what it needs in the raw commodity form given the amount of stockpiles that it has.”
Some analysts, however, expect imports to rise into 2021 after Beijing increased quotas by 20%.