Oil prices fall for second session as COVID-19 lockout concerns cloud demand outlook By Reuters

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© Reuters. Crude oil storage tanks are seen in an aerial photograph at the Cushing Oil Center

By Florence Tan SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil prices fell for a second straight session on Monday as renewed COVID-19 shutdowns raised new concerns about global fuel demand. March futures were down 15 cents, or 0.3%, at $ 55.26 a barrel at 0158 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate crude for March was at $ 52.19 a barrel, 8 cents less or 0.2%. “Signs of weaker demand weighed on the market,” ANZ analysts said, pointing to closures in Hong Kong, China and possibly France as COVID-19 cases rise, restricting business activity and consumption. made out of fuel. China reported an increase in new COVID-19 cases on Monday, clouding prospects for demand in the world’s largest energy consumer, the main pillar of strength for global oil consumption. Prices came under further pressure last Friday after data from the US Energy Information Administration showed that inventories rose a surprising 4.4 million barrels in the week through January 15, versus expectations of a 1.2 million barrel extraction. [EIA/S] The amount of oil and rigs added by US energy companies increased for the ninth consecutive week through January 22, but is still 52% below this time last year, data from Baker Hughes showed. There has been some price support in recent weeks thanks to additional production cuts from the world’s top exporter, Saudi Arabia. But investors are keeping an eye on the resumption of talks between the United States and Iran on a nuclear deal, which could see Washington lift sanctions on Tehran’s oil exports, increasing supplies. Iran’s Oil Minister said on Friday that the country’s oil exports have increased in recent months and that its sales of oil products to foreign buyers reached record levels despite US sanctions. On Sunday, Indonesia said its coast guard had seized the Iranian-flagged MT Horse and Panamanian-flagged MT Freya for alleged illegal fuel transfers off the country’s waters.

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