UPDATE 8-Oil hits highest since March on vaccine trials, Biden transition

  • Reuters
UPDATE 8-Oil hits highest since March on vaccine trials, Biden transition

* Biden transition given formal nod

* OPEC experts meet ahead of next week's ministerial gathering

* U.S. crude stocks seen up 127,000 bbls last week - poll

* Coming Up: API inventory report at 4:30 p.m. ET/2130 GMT (Updates prices and market activity; adds analyst comments, U.S. inventory forecasts; changes byline, dateline, previous LONDON)

By Laila Kearney

NEW YORK, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Oil rose more than $1 a barrel to its highest levels since March as a third promising coronavirus vaccine raised hope for fuel demand recovery and U.S. President-elect Joe Biden began his transition to the White House.

Brent crude LCOc1 rose $1.65, or 3.6%, to $47.22 a barrel by 11:34 a.m. EST (1634 GMT), to $47.71 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1 gained $1.89, or 4.4%, to $44.95 a barrel. Both benchmarks reached their highest since March 6.

AstraZeneca AZN.L on Monday said that its COVID-19 vaccine was 70% effective in trials and could be up to 90% effective, giving the fight against the pandemic another potential vaccine after positive results from Pfizer-BioNTech PFE.N 22UAy.DE and Moderna MRNA.O . possibility of having a vaccine next year increases the odds that we're going to see demand return in the new year," said Phil Flynn, senior analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.

The coronavirus pandemic, coupled with the collapse of an OPEC-led output pact, sent prices crashing in March. the collapse of that output pact led to a brief Saudi Arabia-Russia price war, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies agreed a new deal on record production cuts to support prices.

The group known as OPEC+ is expected to roll over those cuts into 2021 after a meeting over Nov. 30 to Dec. 1 following technical talks this week. addition, the Trump administration gave Democrat Joseph Biden access to resources that will enable him to take over in January after delaying for weeks despite Trump's loss in the Nov. 3 presidential election. first of this week's U.S. supply reports is due at 4:30 p.m. EST (2130 GMT) from the American Petroleum Institute. crude oil inventories are seen rising slightly last week, while distillate stockpiles likely declined for the 10th straight week, an extended Reuters poll showed. EIA/S

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