Oil Prices Lifted by Talk of ECB Stimulus

Oil prices rose on Friday, boosted by the prospects of new stimulus measures from the European Central Bank, but were still on track for a weekly loss.

The market was also looking forward to data later on Friday expected to show another decrease in the number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. Although the rig count has fallen by more than 60% since last year, production has kept near multiyear highs and inventories have recently increased.

“The outlook for more ECB stimulus improves the sentiment, but the continued U.S. crude oil build weighs on prices,” said  Michael Poulsen, analyst at Global Risk Management.

Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, rose 0.5% to $48.30 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures exchange. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures were trading up 0.1% at $45.44 a barrel. Still, both benchmarks were on track to fall by about 4% for the week.

ECB President  Mario Draghi said on Thursday that the bank was “open to a whole new menu of monetary-policy instruments” to help jump-start the region’s economy, which has been grappling with ultralow inflation and lukewarm recovery. Investors are anticipating an expansion of the ECB’s €60 billion ($68 billion) a month bond-buying program, known as quantitative easing, or QE.

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