It comes as brent crude LCOc1 went up by 3 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $29.75 a barrel 0341 GMT, after dropping 4 percent on Wednesday. US West Texas Intermediate futures CLc1 gained 4 cents, or 0.2 percent, to 24.03 a barrel, after declining more than 2 pecent in the previous session. Both contracts traded in an out of negative territory through the Asian morning on light trade with some markets on holiday.
FTSE 100 LIVE: The Bank of England has issued a terrifying forecast
Oil prices were supported by data showing Chinese crude imports rose last month.
Imports climbed to 10.42 million barrels day (bpd) in April from 9.68 million bpd in March, according to Reuters calculations based on customs data for the first four months of 2020.
Overall exports from China also rose against expectations of a sharp drop.
“Oil prices should eventually settle on a wide $10 range, with WTI crude’s upper boundary being around the $30 a barrel level, while Brent crude targets the $35 a barrel level,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.
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The Bank of England has said the UK economy could shrink by 14 percent this year
3.42pm update: Furlough scheme should be scaled back – leading think tank
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) wants the Government’s furlough scheme to be scaled back to encourage people to return to work and protect the public finances.
IFS Director Paul Johnson said reducing the percentage of workers’ wages paid by the state under the programme from 80p percent to either 70 percent or 60 percent would make it more sustainable.
He warned the current rate “may be more generous than is necessary in the slightly longer term”.
3.30pm update: Wall Street opens on front foot despite unemployment gloom
Major US stock markets have started the day on a positive note.
This is despite the number of citizens claiming unemployment benefits over the past seven weeks surging beyond 33million.
The Dow Jones was up 1.13 percent, the S&P 500 increased 1.41 percent and the Nasdaq jumped 1.49 percent.
3pm update: US jobless claims surge past 33million in under two months
A further 3.17million US citizens filed for unemployment benefits last week.
This weekly number is continuing to drop and is down from 3.8 last week.
But this still takes the total claims over the past seven weeks beyond 33million.
FTSE 100 LIVE; US unemployment claims have now surged beyond 33 million
Paul Withers taking over live reporting from Emily Ferguson.
2.40pm update: Coronavirus crisis could cost every family £9,000
Today the Bank of England (BoE) announced the coronavirus pandemic could cause the UK economy to shrink by 14 percent – its biggest contraction since 1706.
The hit to the country’s GDP amounts to about £300billion, or £9,000 for every family in Britain, according to Resolution Foundation.
1.45pm update: FTSE-100 update
The FTSE-100 index at 1:45pm was up 60.62 at 5914.38.
12.50pm update: FTSE rises
The FTSE-100 index at 12:45pm was up 59.62 at 5913.38.
British Airways fears normal demand won’t return until 2023
12pm update: FTSE slightly dips
The FTSE-100 index at 11:45am was up 42.05 at 5895.81.
11.39am update: British Airways fears normal demand won’t return until 2023
The owner of British Airways, Iberia, Vueling and Aer Lingus must cut costs across the board to weather the coronavirus crisis as air travel won’t return to normal until at least 2023, its chief executive Willie Walsh said on Thursday.
The comments have prompted fears their may be further layoffs, even though BA has already cut 12,000 jobs.
IAG shares were down 4 percent at 10.30am, underperforming the FTSE 100 index which was up 1 percent.
The shares have already lost almost 70 percent of their value over the last three months.
10.45am update: FTSE continues to show gains
The FTSE-100 index at 10:45am was up 47.98 at 5901.74.
Many businesses have been hit by the coronavirus pandemic
10.06am update: European stocks lifted by rise in Chinese exports
European shares rose on Thursday as a surprise rise in China’s exports overshadowed another set of grim results and a warning from Air France-KLM that demand could take “several years” to recover.
The pan-European STOXX 600 rose 0.6 percent, led by gains in retail, mining and real estate sectors.
German online fashion retailer Zalando jumped 10.2 percent after saying it was recovering from an initial hit by coronavirus lockdowns and it expects a return to profitability as it posted a first-quarter loss.
The mood stabilised globally as Beijing reported a 3.5 percent rise in April exports, confounding market expectations for a sharp fall, as factories restarted production after the coronavirus pandemic.
9.20am update: FTSE rises
The FTSE-100 index at 9:15am was up 20.87 at 5874.63.
8.40am update: FTSE shows slight gains
UK stock markets headed higher on Thursday on hopes of a faster recovery from a coronavirus-led recession following a surprise rise in China’s exports.
The export-laden FTSE 100 climbed 0.4 percent and the mid-cap FTSE 250 added 0.6 percent as China’s exports rose in April for the first time this year with factories racing to make up for lost sales due to the coronavirus shock.
8.05am update: FTSE-100 index opens
The FTSE-100 index opened at 5853.76 this morning.
How coronavirus has affected fuel prices
7.23am update: Bank of England forecasts GDF fall of 14% in 2020
A Bank of England scenario predicts the UK economy will fall 14 percent this year, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
It then forecasts the economy will recover rapidly, as the country eases its nationwide lockdown.
7.12am update: Bond markets sees huge shift
Bond markets saw one of the largest shifts in a while after the US Treasury said it would borrow an astonishing $2.999 trillion during the June quarter, five times larger than the previous single-quarter record.
It will sell $96 billion next week alone and a surprising amount of that will be at longer tenors, which in turn pushed up long-term yields and steepened the curve.
Yields on 30-year bonds jumped seven basis points to 1.40 percent, the largest daily increase since mid-March.
That rise gave a lift to the US dollar on most currencies and its index firmed to 100.192.
6.08am update: Asia stocks relieved by China export surprise
Asian shares pared early losses on Thursday after Chinese exports proved far stronger than even bulls had imagined, while US bond investors were still daunted by the staggering amount of new debt set to be sold in coming weeks.
Beijing reported exports rose 3.5 percent in April on a year earlier, completely confounding expectations of a 15.1 percent fall and outweighing a 14.2 percent drop in imports.
The surprise stoked speculation the Asian giant could recover from its coronavirus lockdown quicker than first thought and support global growth in the process.
The news helped regional market steady after a shaky start and MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was back to near flat.
Japan’s Nikkei .N225 was off a slim 0.2 percent while South Korea .KS11 added 0.2 percent. Chinese blue chips .CSI300 were just a fraction lower, while E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 ESc1 bounced 0.5 percent.