THE Brent crude price has risen by around nine per cent to a two month high as experts noted signs of recovery in the market following the slump triggered by the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Brent sold for $35.45 per barrel yesterday afternoon, up $2.95/bbl on the day.

The increase took the price to the highest level recorded since early March, before Boris Johnson imposed the coronavirus lockdown in the UK.

The price tumbled to an 18-year-low of $15.98/bbl in April as demand for crude plunged around the world.

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The fall reflected concerns that a massive supply glut could weigh on the market for months.

The price has been on an upward trend since late April amid growing hopes the market is on the road to some form of recovery.

Demand has started to increase following moves by some countries to ease lockdown measures while members of the Opec + grouping of major exporters have agreed record production cuts. The cuts made by the grouping, which includes Saudi Arabia and Russia, took effect on May 1.

The signs of recovery will be welcomed in the North Sea where firms are braced for a deep downturn.Companies that operate North Sea oil and gas fields have announced plans for deep cuts in spending.

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Noting the outlook has improved somewhat, the International Energy Agency said: “Even more important than the easing of lockdown measures has been steep production declines in non-Opec countries alongside the commitments made by the Opec+ agreement.” Thousands of US shale wells have been shut in

But the Paris-based IEA noted that oil prices remain far below where they were before the start of the coronavirus crisis. Brent crude sold for around $70/bbl in January.

The Rystad Energy consultancy warned oil prices could be vulnerable to a resurgence in Covid-19 outbreaks and a drop in compliance with Opec+ cuts as demand recovers.

On Friday Barclays raised its forecast for Brent to an average $37/bbl this year, up $6/bbl.

The bank raised its forecast for 2021 by $16/bbl to an average $53/bbl.