Oil prices rose today, reversing some of the previous day's sharp losses as stock markets strengthened and the US dollar slipped, though gains were capped by the coronavirus situation in major oil consumer India.

Brent crude oil futures were up $1.23, or 1.8%, at $68.28 a barrel this afternoon and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was up $1.12, or 1.8%, at $64.94.

The two contracts lost about 3% yesterday.

Global equities rose and the dollar slipped today after US Federal Reserve officials said there would be no imminent move to tighten monetary policy in the world's biggest economy.

As oil is priced in dollars, a weaker greenback makes the commodity cheaper for holders of other currencies, potentially spurring demand.

The US Commerce Department said April retail sales stalled following a 10.7% surge in March, an upward revision from the previously reported 9.7% increase.

Oil prices have come under pressure this week from surging coronavirus cases in India as well as worries that the highly transmissible variant first detected there is spreading to other countries.

India today reported 343,144 new coronavirus cases, taking its overall tally past the 24 million mark, while deaths from Covid-19 rose by 4,000.

US President Joe Biden reassured motorists that fuel supplies should start returning to normal this weekend, despite more filling stations running out of gasoline across the Southeast nearly a week after a cyber attack forced a shutdown at the nation's main fuel pipeline.

Colonial Pipeline said last night that it had restarted its entire pipeline system and had begun deliveries in all of its markets.

The US capital was running out of gasoline today despite the pipeline restart. Gas station outages in Washington, DC, climbed to 87%, from 79% the day before, tracking firm GasBuddy said.