Oil futures rose Monday, with support tied to continued progress on vaccines against COVID-19 even as the disease continues to rage anew in parts of the world.
West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery rose 61 cents, or 1.4%, to $43.03 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. January Brent crude, the global benchmark, was up 74 cents, or 1.6%, to $45.70 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.
“Optimism around vaccine developments continues to buoy sentiment, despite the current lockdowns that we are seeing across Europe, and with the numbers of U.S. COVID-19 cases now passing the 12 million mark,” said Warren Patterson, head of commodities strategy at ING, in a note.
AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford said on Monday that their COVID-19 vaccine candidate was found to be as much as 90% effective in preventing infections, based on data from a late-stage clinical trial in the U.K. and Brazil.
Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE last week filed for emergency U.S. regulatory approval of their vaccine candidate, which they said proved 95% effective in a late-stage trial. Moderna Inc. has said its vaccine candidate has proven 94.5% effective.
Meanwhile, the U.S. counted 141,641 new cases on Sunday, and at least 834 people died, according to a New York Times tracker. In the past week, the U.S. averaged 171,461 cases a day, up 54% from the average two weeks ago, and cases are rising in 50 states and territories, putting a strain on hospitals and health care systems.
The spread of the disease is expected to curtail activity around the Thanksgiving Day holiday in the U.S. on Thursday, undercutting the usual holiday-related rise in gasoline demand.
January gasoline futures were up 1.4% at $1.1868 a gallon, while January heating oil rose 1.3% to $1.3093 a gallon.
January natural gas rose 1.4% to $2.809 per million British thermal units.