Firefighters managed to extinguish one of three burning storage tanks at Venezuela's biggest refinery on Tuesday, President Hugo Chavezsaid, in line with the authorities' target to restart the facility by the end of the week.
Chavez broke the news in a series of pre-dawn Tweets, saying the fire at one tank at the Amuay refinery had been put out, while the intensity of the blaze in one of the other two had fallen by 75 percent.
"We continue battling with our heroic firefighters from (state oil company) PDVSA," he said, adding that he was talking by telephone with Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez at the scene.
"With God's help, we will succeed!"
Ramirez told Reuters in an exclusive interview on Monday that the 645,000 barrel-per-day facility could restart operations on Friday, and that the three burning tanks would be extinguished within two days.
An explosion on Saturday at Amuay killed 48 people and pushed up U.S. fuel prices in markets that were already bullish because of a threat that Tropical Storm Isaac could disrupt refinery operations on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Ramirez said Venezuela currently had no plans to import fuel, and that the rise in U.S. gasoline prices would not last.
Analysts said that while the downturn in the headline readings was disappointing, the economy continued to put in a strong performance.
Crude prices stabilised after diving more than two percent on Tuesday on increasing fears of a global supply glut, as continued production in the US and elsewhere offsets an OPEC output cut deal.
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However, most other regional markets struggled after Monday's healthy gains, despite being given a positive lead from Wall Street where the Dow and S&P 500 closed at fresh record highs.
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"The Bank of Russia Board of Directors decided to cut the key rate to 9.00 percent per annum," the bank said in a statement. The cut follows a half-point decrease in late April.
Equity traders have suffered a fraught week as the crisis engulfing Donald Trump picks up pace, technology firms tumbled from recent highs and energy plays were hammered by plunging oil prices.
"In May 2017, passenger car registrations across the EU increased by 7.6 percent to 1.387 million units," ACEA said in a statement.
In the eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX 30 index climbed 0.4 percent to 12,746.05 points, and the Paris CAC 40 gained 0.5 percent to 5,243.53 compared with the close on Thursday.
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While a "rebalancing of the market" was "underway," it was "at a slower pace than originally anticipated," the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries wrote in its latest monthly oil market report.