Oil prices fall as U.S. benchmark clings to weekly gain

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Oil futures lost ground Friday, with the U.S. benchmark clinging to a small weekly gain, as an accelerating rise in COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and Europe heightens worries about demand for crude.

West Texas Intermediate crude for November delivery
fell 27 cents, or 0.7%, to $40.69 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, leaving it with a weekly gain of 0.2%. December Brent crude
the global benchmark, was off 35 cents, or 0.8%, to $42.81 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe. Brent was on track for a 0.1% weekly decline.

“The market is worried about how the increasing lockdown measures in Europe will affect demand,” said Marshall Gittler, head of investment research at BDSwiss Group, in a note. “Mobility data suggests that travel has only recovered to 60% of its pre-pandemic levels in Europe, and it’s about to get a new hit as several European countries restrict gatherings again. ”

Oil fell sharply during Wednesday’s session, but ended the day with small losses. Crude bounced after a round of weekly inventory data from the Energy Information Administration that showed a larger-than-expected fall in U.S. crude supplies, as well as a declines in gasoline inventories and a much larger than expected drop in distillate stocks.

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