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Oil markets: Coronavirus, US crude stocks




Oil pumping jacks, also known as ‘nodding donkeys’, are reflected in a puddle as they operate in an oil field near Almetyevsk, Russia, on Sunday August 16, 2020.

Andrey Rudakov | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Oil prices fell on Wednesday following a surprise increase in crude oil inventories in the United States and as investors continued to worry about pressure from fuel demand amid a tighter lockdown in Europe to counter the coronavirus pandemic.

Brent futures fell 8 cents, or 0.2%, to $ 50.68 a barrel at 0126 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 6 cents, or 0.1%, at $ 47.56 per barrel.

“Crude prices are slightly lower after the API (American Petroleum Institute) inventory report released a second consecutive build,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.

Crude inventories rose 2 million barrels in the week to Dec. 11 to about 495 million barrels, according to industry group API.

Analysts were expecting 1.9 million barrels of draft, according to a Reuters poll. Official government data was expected Wednesday.

The deployment of vaccines this month to fight the coronavirus pandemic will not quickly reverse the destruction caused by global demand for oil, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned on Tuesday.

The IEA has revised down its estimates of oil demand this year to 50,000 barrels per day (b / d) and to 170,000 b / d for next year, citing low kerosene consumption as less than people travel by plane.

“On the demand side, the biggest near-term downside risk to oil demand expectations is the United States, primarily due to continued weakness in gasoline demand in the United States, given of the current trajectory of COVID-19 in the country, “FGE analysts wrote in a note.

Still, progress on vaccine deployment continued on Tuesday after Moderna Inc’s Covid-19 vaccine appeared ready for U.S. regulatory clearance this week.

The United States also extended its rollout of the new Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech SE to hundreds of additional distribution centers on Tuesday, inoculating thousands of other healthcare workers in a vaccination of mass that should reach the general public in the coming months.

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