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Oil Futures Settle Sharply Higher On Vaccine Hopes

Crude oil prices rose sharply on Monday as positive news about a potential coronavirus vaccine somewhat outweighed reports showing spikes in new infections.

Democrat Joe Biden's victory in the U.S. presidential election also lifted optimism about positive developments in international trade.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for December ended up $3.15 or about 8.5% at $40.29 a barrel.

Brent crude futures were gaining about $3.10 or nearly 8% at $42.55 a barrel.

Both WTI futures and Brent futures had tumbled by about 4% a session earlier.

Biden reportedly topped the necessary 270 Electoral College votes, but President Donald Trump is yet to concede he has lost the race. Analysts think that Trump's election lawsuits are unlikely to pass legal muster.

As the Trump era comes to an end, Biden is expected to seek more realistic solutions on trade. Speculation is rife that both trade wars and higher taxes would be largely off the agenda.

On the vaccine front, Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE announced that the first set of results from the phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial provides initial evidence of the vaccine's ability to prevent COVID-19.

The results were based on the first interim efficacy analysis conducted on November 8, 2020 by an external, independent Data Monitoring Committee from the phase 3 clinical study. The Committee has not reported any serious safety concerns.

Markets were also reacting positively to reported comments by Saudi Arabia that OPEC+ will likely alter oil output to balance the market.

The energy minister of Saudi Arabia said the OPEC+ deal on oil output cuts could be adjusted if there was consensus among members of the group, increasing the prospect of tighter supplies and higher oil prices.

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