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)
(Xinhua/Wang Ying)

U.S. oil prices surged nearly 20 percent on Thursday as traders eyed on tensions between the United States and Iran.

The West Texas Intermediate for June delivery rose 2.72 U.S. dollars, or 19.7 percent, to settle at 16.50 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for June delivery was up 0.96 dollar, or 4.7 percent, to close at 21.33 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.

The energy market was partly lifted after U.S. President Trump sent some aggressive tweets on Iran.

“I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea,” Trump tweeted Wednesday.

“Normally oil prices rise on tensions in the Gulf because of fears of supply disruption,” analysts at UBS said in a note Thursday, adding that with the oil market out of balance, “it is doubtful that President Trump’s belligerence will do that much to prices in the near term.”

Oil prices have been under pressure these days amid coronavirus-tied demand shock and a supply glut.

Global oil demand is expected to fall by a record 9.3 million barrels per day year on year in 2020, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned in its closely-watched monthly report.

The IEA said demand in April is estimated to be 29 million barrels per day lower than a year ago, down to a level last seen in 1995, due to the COVID-19 pandemic as containment measures have brought mobility almost to a halt. Enditem

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Xinhua News Agency, Xinhuanet is an important central news service-oriented website, an important information organ of the central government, and an important platform for building up China's online international communication capacity. Established on November 7, 1997, as an online news provider of the Xinhua News Agency, it was officially named Xinhuanet on March 10, 2000 and began around-the-clock news release with leading online public opinion at home and setting a good image of China abroad as its main task.

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