Oil prices fell Friday as news that President Trump had tested positive for coronavirus weighed on both stock and commodity markets. Brent crude, the international benchmark, was down nearly 4 percent to $39.37 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate, the American standard, was also down about 4 percent to $37.18 a barrel.
The pressure on oil prices was only partly attributable to increased uncertainty about the upcoming election in the United States and Mr. Trump’s health, analysts said. Broader concerns about the global economy and oil demand are also reflected on the downward slide.
After prices recovered briskly from their lows in late April, when some futures plunged into negative territory, concerns about the future demand for oil have resurfaced. The high numbers of coronavirus cases in countries like the United States, Britain and Spain demonstrate, where some areas are facing a second wave of infections, show that the pandemic is far from under control and likely to continue to weigh on economic activity and oil consumption in the coming months.
For these reasons, the recovery of the demand for oil will face “a lot heavier going” over the rest of the year. said David Fyfe, chief economist at Argus Media, a commodities research firm,
Mr. Fyfe said that his firm did not expect oil demand to reach pre-pandemic levels until early 2023. Jet fuel use is being hit particularly hard, a result of restrictions to air travel and greater caution by passengers.
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