FTSE 100 LIVE: Oil prices soar over 10% amid signs of US fuel demand recovery

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 climbed to a high of $17.35 a barrel and were up 14.3 percent, or $2.15, at $17.21 at 0350 GMT. The US benchmark surged 22 percent on Wednesday. Brent crude LCOc1 rose 10.3 percent, or $2.33 to $24.87 a barrel in light trading, with the June contract expiring on Thursday. The contract hit a high of $24.91 earlier in the session, having posted a 10 percent gain on Wednesday.

The most active Brent crude contract for July LCOc2 was up $2.10 or 8.7 percent, at $26.33 a barrel.

US oil plunged into minus territory last week as the May contract was expiring, but analysts said the market appears to have found a floor.

“I think we’re closer to an equilibrium price for WTI between $15 and $20. That reflects all of the known knowns – the demand destruction that has led to storage filling up and pending supply cuts,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets and Stockbroking in Sydney.

US crude inventories grew by 9 million barrels last week to 527.6 million barrels, US Energy Information Administration data showed on Wednesday. This was well below the 10.6 million-barrel rise analysts polled by Reuters had expected.


5.46am update: Australian businesses borrow big to cope with coronavirus chaos

Australian business borrowing surged by the most in three decades in March as firms stockpiled cash to see them through a widespread economic lockdown that is only now being eased slightly in some states.

Figures from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) on Thursday showed total credit outstanding to business jumped 2.9 percent or A$29 billion ($19 billion) in March from a month earlier, easily the biggest rise since 1988.

Business credit rose to A$1.02 trillion ($668.30 billion), the first time ever above the trillion mark.

That was enough to lift total private credit outstanding by 1.1 percent in March, itself the largest increase since the global financial crisis.

Large chunks of the economy shut down in mid-March as the government applied strict distancing rules to contain the pandemic, and many firms rushed to draw down on credit lines.

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