Reuters | Jan 22, 2021 10:10
MELBOURNE, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Oil prices fell in early trade
on Friday, retreating further from 11-month highs hit last week,
on worries new pandemic restrictions in China will curb fuel
demand in the world's biggest oil importer.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 futures
dropped 47 cents, or 0.9%, to $52.66 a barrel at 0148 GMT, after
slipping 18 cents on Thursday.
Brent crude LCOc1 futures fell 45 cents, or 0.8%, to
$55.65 a barrel, erasing a 2 cent gain on Thursday.
Recovering fuel demand in China underpinned market gains
late last year while the United States and Europe lagged, but
that source of support is fading as a fresh wave of COVID-19
cases has sparked new restrictions to contain the spread.
"Indeed, investors are struggling to see through short-term
pain for long-term gain heading into the weekend as COVID case
counts in China are the most significant demand concern for
traders," Axi chief market strategist Stephen Innes said in a
The commercial hub of Shanghai reported its first locally
transmitted cases in two months on Thursday. Local governments in areas yet to be hit by big outbreaks
are adopting new curbs, and Beijing is urging people not to
travel during the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday, when tens of
millions of urban workers typically head back to their villages.
Sudden new restrictions worldwide have badly hit the airline
industry, with the number of flights globally down 25% last
week, ANZ Research said.
"This is likely to weigh heavily on jet fuel demand," ANZ
Research said in a note.
The market is awaiting official oil inventory data from the
U.S. Energy Information Administration on Friday, after industry
data on Wednesday showed a surprise 2.6 million barrel increase
in U.S. crude inventories last week compared with analysts'
forecasts for a 1.2 million barrel draw. API/S
The EIA weekly report has been delayed by two days due to
the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and Inauguration Day.
Written By: Reuters
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