Oil prices fell on Friday for the sixth day in a row, down nearly 9% for the week, as a new wave of COVID-19 infections in particular across Europe spurred fresh lockdowns and dampened hopes for a forthcoming recovery in fuel demand.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell 4 cents, or 0.07%, to $59.96 a barrel by 0552 GMT.
Brent crude was down 10 cents, or 0.16%, to $63.18 a barrel.
“Oil had edged up in Asia’s morning trading after a 7% drop on Thursday as physical buyers leapt at the chance to load up on cheap oil ” Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.
Effect of COVID-19 New Wave on Oil Trends
However, the market remains increasingly worried about fuel demand outlook amid rising coronavirus cases, fresh restrictions and slowing vaccination rollouts in some countries.
Safety concerns about the AstraZeneca vaccine’s side effects had led several European countries to stop administering the shot.
Following the concerns, regulators of the vaccine declared the AstraZeneca vaccine safe. As a result, Germany, France and other countries have announced the resumption of vaccinations.
Britain has also announced it will have to slow its COVID-19 vaccine rollout next month due to a supply delay. As s
everal French regions badly hit by the COVID-19 epidemic, including the Ile-de-France region around Paris, starting its four-week lockdown today.
“The market is becoming increasingly nervous around some countries in Europe imposing COVID-19-related restrictions once again and, in doing so, raising concerns for the demand outlook,” ING Economics said in a note.
According to the Joint Organisations Data Initiative website on Thursday, oil supply is becoming abundant amidst the current threats on-demand, with Saudi Arabia’s crude exports increasing in January for a seventh straight month to the highest since April 2020.
Shipments from Saudi Arabia world’s biggest oil exporter, increased to 6.582 million barrels per day in January from 6.495 million the previous month.
Oil prices Decline Amidst Growing Concerns on Prevailing COVID-19.