Oil Prices Continued To Fall Today, Thursday As ‘Covid-19’ Cases Rise in China has dampened hopes of a recovery in fuel demand in the world’s second largest oil consumer.
The extent of the recent outbreak in China and uncertainties about official data have prompted some countries to issue new travel rules for Chinese visitors.
Brent futures for February delivery fell 42 cents, or 0.5%, to $82.84 a barrel by 01:23 GMT.
U.S. crude fell 50 cents, or 0.6%, to $78.46 a barrel, according to Reuters.
Oil markets were also impacted by expectations of another hike in US interest rates in the US as the Federal Reserve tries to limit price increases in the labor market, which suffers from shortages.
U.S. crude inventories fell less-than-expected, by about 1.3 million barrels, in the week ending Dec. 23, according to market sources citing data from the American Petroleum Institute, in down from analyst estimates of a $1.5 million drawdown.
The US government will release its weekly numbers at 10:30 am EST on Thursday.
Also affecting prices, pipeline operator TC Energy said it was working to restart part of the Keystone pipeline, which authorities have had to shut down after this month’s leak.
However, the markets received some support from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who banned the export of crude oil and petroleum products from February 1 for a five-month period to countries adhering to the Western price ceiling.
Germany has said the embargo has “no practical significance” given Berlin’s work since the spring to replace Russian oil supplies and ensure security of supply.
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