Crude oil prices strengthen on vaccine hopes; India raises fuel prices


Oil prices firmed up on hopes OPEC and its allies will delay a planned increase in oil output and after Pfizer said its COVID-19 vaccine was more effective than previously reported. Brent crude rose to $44.39 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude climbed to $41.86.

Both BRENT and WTI prices jumped up after Pfizer Inc said that final results from late-stage trial of its vaccine showed it was 95% effective. Last week it had put the efficacy at more than 90%. Moderna Inc had said that preliminary data for its vaccine also showed it was almost 95% effective.

This has also prompted traders to believe that that OPEC+ will decide to postpone its planned production increase in January, leading to rise in prices. To tackle weaker energy demand amid a second wave of the pandemic, Saudi Arabia called on fellow members of the OPEC+ group to be flexible to meet market needs and to be ready to adjust their agreement on output cuts.

In India, petrol and diesel prices rose for the first time in nearly two months. Petrol price rose 17 paise per litre and diesel price surged 22 paise, according to Indian Oil Corporation. With today’s increase in fuel prices, petrol is being sold at Rs 81.23 a litre while diesel is at Rs 70.68 a litre in Delhi. While the last revision done to the petrol prices was on September 22, the diesel rates last changed on October 2.

The Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) in India such as Indian Oil CorporationBharat Petroleum Corporation, and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation – follow benchmark international oil price and foreign exchange rate to revise rates of petrol and diesel on a daily basis.

OPEC+, comprising the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Russia and other producers, met on Tuesday but made no formal recommendation. The group is due to discuss policy at a full ministerial meeting to be held on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. Members of OPEC+ are leaning towards delaying the current plan to boost output in January by 2 million barrels per day (bpd). They are considering a possible delay of three or six months.

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