Oil prices extend slump as U.S. coronavirus cases climb

Oil prices extend slump as U.S. coronavirus cases climb
  • Clock-gray 06:41
  • calendar-gray 12 June 2020

Oil prices slid early on Friday, extending heavy overnight losses on a surge in U.S. coronavirus cases this week that has raised the prospect of a second wave of the outbreak slamming demand in the world’s biggest consumer of crude and fuel, APA reports quoting Reuters.

West Texas Intermediate CLc1 was down $1.32, or nearly 4%, at $35.02 a barrel by 0011 GMT, after slumping more than 8% on Thursday. Brent crude LCOc1 was down $1.15, or 3%, at $37.40 a barrel, having dropped nearly 8% the previous session. 

A rally off April’s lows has come to a shuddering halt this week as the market faced the reality that the coronavirus pandemic may be far from over globally, with cases in the United States alone passing 2 million this week. 

Brent is heading for its first weekly decline in seven, dropping about 12%, while U.S. crude is heading for a loss of around 4% in its second consecutive weekly drop. 

“A sustainable rally needs to include improving gasoline demand, reducing inventories, increasing product margins to the point where refiners kickstart runs,” RBC Capital Markets said, noting that “U.S. driving patterns are far from normal.” 

While producers have been cutting supply, demand remains constrained by the outbreak, with gasoline stockpiles in the U.S. last week rising more than expected to 258.6 million barrels, according to government data. 

U.S. crude inventories rose against forecasts by 5.7 million barrels to a record 538.1 million barrels, as cheap imports from Saudi Arabia flowed into the country. 

In the meantime, states including Texas and Arizona are struggling to cope with a rising number of coronavirus patients filling hospital beds.

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