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Oil Prices Slip Amidst Growing Concerns on Stockpiles and COVID-19 Vaccine

Oil prices fell on Tuesday, extending declines for a third day, as concerns about rising stockpiles in the United States added to the threat to demand posed by countries including Germany and France halting COVID-19 vaccinations.

Brent crude was down 58 cents, or 0.8%, at $68.30 by 0041 GMT, having dropped 0.5% on Monday.

U.S. crude was down 61 cents, or 0.9%, at $64.78 a barrel, after declining 0.3% in the previous session.

crude oil prices 16-03-2021

Growing Concerns on COVID-19 Vaccine

Germany, France and Italy have announced plans to suspend AstraZeneca Covid-19 injections after reports of possible serious side effects. However, the World Health Organization said there was no direct link to the vaccine.

The move has raised concerns over a slow pace of vaccinations in the region, which may delay any economic recovery from the pandemic in most hard-hit countries.
The COVID-19 pandemic had cut demand for oil in most countries, thus affecting oil prices. However, recently prices have recovered to levels before the global health crisis, only to be capped as vaccination rollouts have been slow in most countries.
Effect of stockpiles on oil supply

In the United States, stockpiles are also rising because of last month’s big freeze, which halted refining operations that have taken time to return fully.

Crude oil inventories have increased substantially in recent weeks, as a result of U.S. refinery disruptions, which have seen crude oil stocks approaching 500 million barrels,” ING Economics said in a client note.

The American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, is expected to report crude stockpile levels later on Tuesday, followed by official numbers from the Department of Energy on Wednesday, with analysts looking forward to another week of oil prices gains.

Crude inventories increased by 12.8 million barrels in the week to March 5, against analysts’ expectations for a rise of fewer than 1 million barrels.