Brent crude oil prices cross US$60 threshold for first time since COVID-19 pandemic

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      Demand for petroleum continues rising.

      And that's pushed the price of Brent crude oil above US$60 for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.

      West Texas Intermediate crude is currently trading at US$57.79, whereas Western Canadian Select is at US$45.35, according to

      Natural gas prices have also been rising amid cold winter temperatures, crossing the US$3 per million British thermal units benchmark last week. And last month, LNG spot prices in Asia spiked to record highs, crossing US$21 per million BTUs.

      Rising oil prices have been associated in the past with a rising Canadian dollar.

      That's because Canada is a large oil exporter.

      In 2018, for example, crude oil exports from Canada were valued at $86.7 billion.

      That accounted for 16 percent of all of Canada's exported goods, according to the federal government.

      On February 5, the Bank of Canada reported that the U.S. dollar was trading at $1.2777 Canadian.

      That compares to $1.4496 last March a week after the World Heath Organization declared that COVID-19 was a pandemic.

      The rising oil price is also being reflected in the stock price of some of the world's energy giants.

      As of this writing, ExxonMobil shares are approaching US$52 on the New York Stock Exchange, up sharply from a 52-week low of US$30.11.

      Royal Dutch Shell Class A shares are at US$38.07 in New York, up from their 52-week low of US$21.26.

      And Chevron Corporation shares are at US$90.92, up from their 52-week low of US$51.60.