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Oil prices fall due to rising virus cases; the planned stock draw results in losses




FILE PHOTO: Crude oil storage tanks are seen in an aerial photograph at the Cushing Oil Hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, US April 21, 2020. REUTERS / Drone Base

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil prices fell on Tuesday as investors remained concerned about rising coronavirus cases around the world, but expectations of a drop in crude oil inventories in the United States for a fifth week consecutive have brought the losses under control.

Brent crude oil futures slipped 10 cents, or 0.2%, to $ 55.56 a barrel at 5:00 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) fell 8 cents, or 0.2%, at $ 52.17 a barrel.

Coronavirus cases around the world topped 90 million on Monday, according to a Reuters tally, as countries around the world scramble to procure vaccines and continue to expand or reinstate lockdowns to fight new variants coronavirus.

In Asia, Japan plans to expand the state of emergency beyond its capital Tokyo to stem the spread of COVID-19 while China implements movement restrictions in parts of the country.

I think the market will be quick to conclude that yesterday’s modest price drop, provided the spread of the virus in China remains contained, was just a failure on the radar screen, strategist Stephen Innes said. Global Market Chief at Axi in a note, citing the prospect of further economic recovery in the United States.

President-elect Joe Biden, who takes office on Jan.20 with his Democratic Party in charge of both houses, has pledged billions of dollars in additional spending in the event of a pandemic.

Inventories of U.S. crude oil likely fell for a fifth straight week, while inventories of refined products rose last week, according to a preliminary Reuters poll on Monday.

The poll was conducted ahead of reports from industry group American Petroleum Institute later Tuesday and the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the statistical arm of the US Department of Energy, on Wednesday.

Brent could reach $ 65 a barrel by summer 2021, Goldman Sachs said, reflecting the Saudi cuts and the implications of a transfer of power to Democrats in the United States. The Wall Street investment bank previously predicted oil would hit $ 65 by the end of the year.

Reporting by Jessica Jaganathan; Edited by Kenneth Maxwell and Richard Pullin

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