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Oil plunges following COVID-19 resurgence, fears of increased supply

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices edged down on Friday, dragged down by fears that a spike in COVID-19 cases in the United States and Europe could continue to dampen demand in two of the largest fuel consuming regions of the world.

FILE PHOTO: Oil pump cylinders operate at sunset near Midland, Texas, USA August 21, 2019. REUTERS / Jessica Lutz

OPEC +, an organization of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allied producers including Russia, fear that a prolonged second wave of the pandemic and a surge in Libyan production could push the oil market towards surplus next year, according to a confidential document seen by Reuters, a much darker prospect than just a month ago.

Futures on Brent LCOc1 fell 23 cents to $ 42.93 a barrel, and US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 8 cents to $ 40.88 a barrel.

Brent rose 0.2% for the week, while WTI was on track to gain 0.7%.

The reality is that we were now seeing a fairly active spread of the pandemic across Europe and re-spreading to North America, potentially weighing on the recovery in oil demand, Lachlan Shaw said. , head of commodities research at the National Bank of Australia.

Some European countries have revived curfews and lockdowns to tackle a surge in new coronavirus cases, with Britain imposing stricter COVID-19 restrictions on London on Friday.

A panel of OPEC + officials, called the Joint Technical Committee, discussed their worst-case scenario in a virtual monthly meeting on Thursday. This implied that the commercial stocks of major global consumers would remain above the five-year average in 2021, rather than falling below that mark.

The group’s Joint Ministerial Follow-up Committee (JMMC) will examine the outlook at its meeting on Monday. The JMMC can make a policy recommendation.

We expect to see strong words on Mondays about clearing (members’) under-compliance, said Paola Rodriguez-Masiu, senior oil markets analyst at Rystad Energys. What everyone is wondering is if there will be action against the latecomers this time around or if the bashing will stay at the verbal level.

OPEC + is expected to ease its current supply cuts of 7.7 million barrels per day (b / d) from 2 million b / d in January.

In the United States, drillers have started adding oil rigs since they were reduced to a 15-year low in August. This week they added the most oil rigs in a week since January, increasing the number from 12 to 205, energy services firm Baker Hughes Co BKR.N said. RIG-USA-BHI, RIG-OL-USA-BHI, RIG-GS-USA-BHI

Fund managers reduced their net long positions in US crude futures and options from 9,442 contracts to 288,454 in the week to October 13, the US Futures Trading Commission announced on Friday. on commodities (CFTC).

Reporting by Stephanie Kelly in New York; additional reporting by Dmitry Zhdannikov in London, Yuka Obayashi in Tokyo and Florence Tan in Singapore; Edited by David Goodman, Louise Heavens, David Gregorio and Tom Brown

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