REUTERS

Oil prices reversed a sharp sell-off a day earlier to rise 1% on Friday on mounting fears that it could take weeks to dislodge a giant container ship blocking the Suez Canal, which would squeeze supplies of crude and refined products.

Prices, however, were still headed for a third consecutive weekly loss, with the outlook for demand dented by fresh coronavirus lockdowns in Europe, as reported by Reuters.

Brent crude was higher by 54 cents, or 0.9%, at $62.49 a barrel by 0432 GMT, after dropping 3.8% on Thursday.

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65 cents, or 1.1%, at $59.21 a barrel, having tumbled 4.3% a day earlier.

Both benchmarks were on track for a weekly loss of about 3%, following a more than 6% decline last week.

The trapped container ship is blocking traffic in the Suez Canal, one of the world’s busiest shipping channels for oil and refined fuels, grain and other trade between Asia and Europe.

Officials stopped all ships entering the canal on Thursday, and a salvage company said the vessel may take weeks to free.

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