File photo taken on March 12, 2019 shows operating oil pumps in Luling of Texas, the United States. U.S. oil prices turned negative on April 20, 2020. West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery shed more than 300 percent to settle at -37.63 U.S. dollars per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)
File photo taken on March 12, 2019 shows operating oil pumps in Luling of Texas, the United States. U.S. oil prices turned negative on April 20, 2020. West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery shed more than 300 percent to settle at -37.63 U.S. dollars per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)

dpa-AFX/GNA – Oil prices rose about 2 per cent on Wednesday as investors sought bargains after the previous session’s slump.

The upside comes after a cargo container ship that’s among the largest in the world ran aground and blocked the Suez Canal, threatening to disrupt a global shipping system already strained by the coronavirus pandemic.

Brent crude for May settlement jumped 2.1 per cent to 62.09 dollars per barrel, after having tumbled 5.9 per cent and hit a low of 60.50 dollars the previous day.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for May delivery were up 2 per cent at 58.95 dollars per barrel, after having lost 6.2 per cent in the previous session.

The MV Ever Given, a Panama-flagged container ship that carries trade between Asia and Europe, became grounded Tuesday in the narrow, man-made waterway dividing continental Africa from the Sinai Peninsula.

Despite today’s rebound, underlying sentiment remains cautious due to growing concerns about demand recovery in the wake of new pandemic curbs in Europe. Germany, France and Italy have expanded virus-related curbs amid a third wave of infections.

The head of the World Health Organization said recent increases in deaths and cases represent “truly worrying trends.”

A US health agency said the AstraZeneca vaccine developed with Oxford University may have included outdated information in its data.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) on Tuesday reported an increase in crude oil inventories of 2.9 million barrels for the week to March 19, against analysts’ expectations for a decline of about 300,000 barrels. The EIA will release its weekly crude inventory data later today.

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