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Oil Prices hit Highest Level Since March on Vaccine Hopes

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Oil prices touched their highest level since March on Tuesday, after a raft of positive vaccine news sparked a comeback in one of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic.

Brent crude, the international benchmark, gained 3.8 per cent to $47.80 a barrel, having earlier poked above $48, as traders bet that travel and other energy-intensive industries would pick up in 2021 if coronavirus can be brought under control.

That put oil up more than a quarter so far in November, on course for one of its largest monthly percentage gains in recent decades.

Analysts at PVM oil brokerage in London said that traders were increasingly treating the prospect of vaccines as a “game changer” for the energy sector, though prices still remain well below the near $70 a barrel they traded at before the pandemic.

Oil prices have also been buoyed by expectations that Opec and allies including Russia will extend the duration of their production cuts when they meet next week, to offset weak demand over the winter months.

The expanded Opec+ group, which slashed production in April as oil demand collapsed during widespread lockdowns, was due to return about 2m barrels a day of production to the market in January, but is increasingly expected to delay the return of additional production.

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