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Crude oil prices shaky amid COVID-19 resurgence

Posted: Friday, July 3, 2020. 3:55 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Reuters reports that while crude oil is trending up, prices fell below US$43 per barrel today Friday amid concerns that a resurgence of COVID-19 cases could stall demand for fuel.

Analysts say if the U.S. continues to set daily global records for cases, job growth and therefore oil demand could suffer a setback.

Brent crude LCOc1 was down 38 cents, or 0.9%, at $42.76 a barrel by 12:03 p.m. EDT (1603 GMT), and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 fell 44 cents, or 1.1%, to $40.21.

“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 PVM.

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 4%.

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.

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

 

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