Oil prices increased on Friday over the restart of stalled talks between US Republicans and Democrats on the stimulus package for the coronavirus pandemic.

International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $41.98 per barrel at 0705 GMT for a 0.09% increase after closing Thursday at $41.94 a barrel.

American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $40.33 a barrel at the same time for a 0.04% increase after ending the previous session at $40.31 per barrel.

Oil prices gained after US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced the resumption of talks on Thursday between Republicans and Democrats on a new economic relief bill to alleviate the coronavirus pandemic.

The number of people in the US who filed for unemployment claims for the first time last week rose by more than expected to 870,000, an indication of the slow economic rebound that is discouraging investors.

More price gains were suppressed and oversupply concerns intensified following Libya’s oil production restart after an eight-month hiatus, which brought nearly 1 million barrels per day of crude back to the market.

Uncertainty over a second wave of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is negatively affecting the global economic recovery and continues to suppress international oil prices.

The number of COVID-19 cases worldwide is now over 32.2 million, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.

While the US still tops the number of cases above 6.9 million as of Friday morning, India has increased its cases to more than 5.8 million, and Brazil follows with over 4.6 million cases.

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