Oil mixed as US dollar plunge ends and virus cases rise

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ANKARA 

Crude oil prices were mixed on Tuesday, as the decline in the US dollar index neared its end to discourage cheap dollar oil trade, and the increase in the number of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) worldwide is set to hamper the global economic recovery and oil consumption.

International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $43.97 per barrel at 0650 GMT for a 0.16% increase after closing Monday at $43.90 a barrel.

American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $41.50 a barrel at the same time for a 0.24% decline after ending the previous session at $41.60 per barrel.

The US dollar index, which measures the value of the American dollar against a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen, British pound, Canadian dollar, Swedish krona and Swiss franc, declined for the seventh consecutive day to as low as $93.48 early Monday — its lowest level since June 2018. The index, however, was up by 0.3% to $93.80 at 0650 GMT after closing Monday at $93.67.

The rise in the index came after US Senate Republicans introduced a coronavirus relief package on Monday to provide $1 trillion in relief.

The decline in the value of the greenback offered oil-importing countries the opportunity to buy more crude oil at cheaper dollar prices, which in turn supported higher crude prices.

On the demand side, the rise in COVID-19 cases around the world continues to curtail global economic growth and oil consumption overall.

The number of COVID-19 cases worldwide is now close to 16.5 million, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.

While the US is leading the number of cases with almost 4.3 million as of Tuesday morning, Brazil has over 2.4 million, and India follows with almost 1.5 million cases.

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