Oil futures remained under pressure on Thursday, falling for the third session in a row, with a weakness linked in part to the continuing rise in COVID-19 cases outside the U.S., highlighting concerns about energy demand as blockades of business and consumer activities are imposed.
West Texas Medium Oil for June delivery CL00,
on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell 36 cents, or 0.6%, to $ 60.99 a barrel. June Brent raw BRN00,
the global benchmark fell 40 cents, or 0.6%, to $ 64.92 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.
India recorded 314,835 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, the news reported, recording a record daily result.
“A further increase in new COVID cases in India, where for the first time more than 300,000 people caught the coronavirus within 24 hours, raises doubts about how demand will develop,” said Eugen Weinberg, an analyst at Commerzbank, in Note.
The sudden increase in the number of cases in Japan is also worrying, considering that the officials weighed the state of emergency for Osaka and Tokyo. India and Japan are among the world’s largest consumers and importers of oil, Weinberg noted.
On the other hand, the picture of U.S. demand seems strong, he noted. Although data released on Wednesday showed an increase in U.S. crude oil inventories, demand for gasoline rose to 9.1 million barrels a day – the most since the peak during last year’s summer driving season, Weinberg said.