Oil prices fell on Friday, coupled with the major losses from the previous session. The trajectory seemed to have headed for a weekly decline as more investors panicked about the increasing coronavirus cases in the United States as well as more countries reverted to lockdowns, thereby suppressing fuel demand.
Brent crude (LCOc1) fell by 0.6%, at $42.10 a barrel by 0341 GMT after falling more than 2% on Thursday. U.S. oil (CLc1) also fell by 0.8%, at $39.29 a barrel after a drop of 3% in the previous session. It appears that Brent is heading towards a weekly decline of about 2% and U.S. crude generally, for a fall of over 3%.
Even though analysts are predominantly expecting that fuel demand will make a comeback from COVID-19, the increasing number of daily cases in the U.S. is raising concern over the possibility of fast recovery. Stephen Innes, chief global markets strategist at AxiCorp explained that:
“I do not suspect many oil traders will be looking to place significant bids in the market today, suggesting prices may continue to wallow into the weekend. More than 60,500 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the United States on Thursday, setting a daily record, with Americans being told to take new precautions. The tally was also the highest daily count yet for any country since the pathogen emerged in China late last year.”
Oil inventories are also still below par owing largely to the constrained demand for gasoline, diesel and other fuels as at the initial outbreak.