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Business News/ Markets / Commodities/  Oil falls below $43 on virus fears, still heads for weekly gain
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Oil falls below $43 on virus fears, still heads for weekly gain

As daily coronavirus cases rose to 55,000 mark in the U.S., oil prices plummets to $43 per barrel
  • While the OPEC oil production fell to abysmal levels in decades, Brent crude was down by 51 cents
  •  A crude oil pump jack in the Permian Basin in Loving County, Texas (REUTERS)Premium
    A crude oil pump jack in the Permian Basin in Loving County, Texas (REUTERS)

    Oil fell below $43 a barrel on Friday as a resurgence of coronavirus cases raised concern that fuel demand growth could stall, although crude was still headed for a weekly gain on lower supply and wider signs of economic recovery.

    The United States reported more than 55,000 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, a new daily global record for the pandemic. The rise in cases suggested U.S. jobs growth, which jumped in June, could suffer a setback.

    "If this trend continues, oil demand in the region is at risk," said Louise Dickson of Rystad Energy.

    Brent crude was down 51 cents, or 1.2%, at $42.63 a barrel by 0923 GMT, and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell 56 cents, or 1.4%, to $40.09.

    "The fragile U.S. economic rebound is at risk of being undone by the latest surge in new infections," said Stephen Brennock of oil broker.

    Both benchmarks rose more than 2% on Thursday, buoyed by strong U.S. June jobs figures and a drop in U.S. crude inventories. Brent is still on track for a weekly gain of more than 5%.

    Signs of economic recovery, and a drop in supply after a record supply cut by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, known as OPEC+, have helped Brent more than double from a 21-year low below $16 reached in April.

    Boosting recovery hopes, a private survey showed on Friday that China's services sector expanded at the fastest pace in over a decade in June.

    OPEC oil production fell to its lowest in decades in June [OPEC/O] and Russian production has dropped to near its OPEC+ target.

    The bankruptcy filing of U.S. shale pioneer Chesapeake Energy also supported prices by raising expectations production will decline, JBC Energy said in a report.

    Gasoline demand will be closely watched as the United States heads into the July 4 holiday weekend.

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    Published: 03 Jul 2020, 04:10 PM IST
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