After reaching 11-month highs last week, oil prices fell as China reported the most rise in daily coronavirus cases in more than five months, reigniting lingering concerns over weak demand.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at USD55.19 per barrel at 0702 GMT for a 1.42 percent fall after closing Friday at USD55.99 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded at USD51.73 per barrel at the same time for a 0.98-percent decrease after it ended the previous session at USD52.24 a barrel.
The price slump was spurred mainly by demand concerns after more than 100 people tested positive in Hebei province in northern China, one of the world’s largest oil consumers.
The government imposed partial lockdowns and travel restrictions in and around the province bordering the capital Beijing.
Further weighing on prices, the number of US oil rigs increased by eight to 275 last week compared to the previous week, signaling greater short-term output and raising supply glut concerns. Political Risk and Oil analyst Jose Chalhoub told Anadolu Agency that last week’s price jump was a direct impact of the recent decision of the OPEC+ deal to keep current cuts in January, as well as the upcoming stimulus package in the US.*PNA