Oil prices rose on Friday and were on track for a third straight weekly gain despite demand concerns stemming from surging coronavirus cases in the U.S. and Europe and renewed lockdowns in several countries.
U.S. coronavirus infections topped 170,000 for the second time, deaths crossed 250,000 and hospitalizations set a new record for the ninth day in a row, heightening concerns about Thanksgiving.
Benchmark Brent crude rose half a percent to $44.40 per barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) January crude futures were up 0.2 percent at 441.97.
Both benchmarks were up over 3 percent so far this week on the likelihood of an effective Covid-19 vaccine and hopes that OPEC and its allies would keep production under check.
Investors remain hopeful that OPEC+ producers will freeze their output at current levels for at least another three months when they meet to discuss their output policy at a meeting on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.
Oil prices were also getting some support from signs of movement on a stimulus deal in Washington after U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed to resume negotiations with Democrats over a potential new Covid-19 relief bill.