Oil Falls on COVID19 Surge But on Track for Weekly Gain

Oil prices fell on Friday, pressured by fears about a slow recovery in the global economy and fuel demand due to rising COVID19 infections, but the market remained on track for a second straight weekly gain, helped by hopes for a vaccine.

Brent crude was down 51 cents, or 1.2, at 43.02 a barrel as of 0741 GMT, after dropping 0.6 on Thursday. U.S. West Texas Intermediate WTI crude futures fell 66 cents, or 1.6, to 40.46 a barrel, having lost 0.8 on Thursday.

For the week, both were headed for a surge of about 9.

U.S. government data also added pressure, as crude inventories rose by 4.3 million barrels last week, compared with an expected fall of 913,000 barrels.

Investors took profits from the recent rally as a gloomy global economic outlook dampened sentiment amid a sharp increase in coronavirus cases and new social restrictions, said Koichi Murakami, an analyst at Daiichi Commodities Co Ltd.

Oil prices are expected to stay under pressure next week if the spread of the pandemic continues to accelerate in many parts of the world, he said.

New coronavirus infections in the United States and elsewhere are at record levels and tightening restrictions to contain the spread have dampened the prospect of a nearterm end to the global health crisis.

Hopes that a resolution might be on the horizon have risen stoking this week39;s jump in both WTI and Brent contracts after data showed an experimental COVID19 vaccine being developed by Pfizer Inc PFE.N and Germany39;s…

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