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Oil Prices Edge Higher On Strong Factory Data

Oil prices edged higher on Friday after European factory figures beat expectations, helping offset lingering demand concerns amid a continuous surge in Covid-19 cases.

Benchmark Brent crude rose 28 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $42.74 a barrel, while U.S. crude futures were up 22 cents, or half a percent, at $40.84.

While the euro area private sector returned to negative territory for the first time since June, manufacturing output growth accelerated to the fastest since February 2018 in October, flash survey data from IHS Markit showed today.

Oil’s upside remain capped by worries about the outlook for fuel demand amid increasing evidence that the coronavirus pandemic is worsening in Europe.

According to a Reuters tally, the coronavirus cases reported in Europe more than doubled within 10 days and exceeded 200,000 daily infections for the first time on Thursday.

Both Germany and France saw their daily Covid-19 infections hit new highs on Thursday. A curfew has been imposed from 12:30 a.m. until 5:00 a.m. in Greece.

The U.K., Ireland and other nations have extended their restrictions in a bid to contain the spread of the pandemic.

Spain’s Health Minister Salvador Illa said the spread of coronavirus is out of control in certain parts of the country. Elsewhere, U.S. hospitalizations for Covid-19 have reached a two-month high.

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