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Oil prices fall on renewed coronavirus concerns as China cases mount

CoronavirusJan 11, 2021 02:54
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* China reports most COVID-19 cases since July amid Hebei
outbreak
* Most of Europe is now under the strictest restrictions
* Biden to announce new stimulus plans this week

By Jessica Jaganathan
SINGAPORE, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Oil prices fell on Monday on
renewed concerns about global fuel demand amid strict
coronavirus lockdowns in Europe and new movement restrictions in
China, the world's second-largest oil user, after a jump in
cases there.
Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 fell 42 cents, or 0.8%, to
$55.57 a barrel by 0146 GMT after earlier climbing to $56.39,
its highest since Feb. 25, 2020. Brent rose in the previous four
sessions.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) CLc1 slipped 22 cents,
or 0.4%, to $52.02 a barrel. WTI rose to its highest in nearly a
year on Friday. "Covid hot spots flaring again in Asia, with 11 million
people (in) lockdowns in China Hebei province... along with a
touch of FED policy uncertainty has triggered some profit taking
out of the gates this morning," Stephen Innes, chief global
market strategist at Axi, said in a note on Monday.
Mainland China saw its biggest daily increase in COVID-19
cases in more than five months, the country's national health
authority said on Monday, as new infections in Hebei province,
which surrounds the capital Beijing, continued to rise.

Shijiazhuang, Hebei's capital and epicentre of the new
outbreak in the province, is in lockdown with people and
vehicles barred from leaving the city as authorities move to
curb the spread of the disease.
Most of Europe is now under the strictest restrictions,
according to the Oxford stringency index, which assesses
indicators such as travel bans and the closure of schools and
workplaces. Still, the oil price losses were curbed by plans for U.S.
President-elect Joe Biden to announce trillions of dollars in
new coronavirus relief bills this week, much of which will be
paid for by increased borrowing.
Crude prices remained supported by Saudi Arabia's pledge
last week for a voluntary oil output cut of 1 million barrels
per day (bpd) in February and March as part of a deal under
which most OPEC+ producers will hold production steady during
new lockdowns.
"Oil is still pricing in a great deal of optimism linked to
the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines," Innes said.
"Demand will always improve as the vaccines roll out, and
the supply side is under control thanks to OPEC+ and Saudi
Arabia's continued efforts."

Oil prices fall on renewed coronavirus concerns as China cases mount
 

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