Oil prices were little changed on Friday but on course for a fall that is weekly concerns that the global resurgence of COVID-19 infections will constrain fuel demand, while the likely return of exports from Libya will add to supply.
Brent(LCOc1 that is crude was down 2 cents at $41.92 a barrel by 0113 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude (CLc1) was 3 cents firmer at $40.34.
Brent is heading for the drop of nearly 3% this, while U.S. crude is on track for a decline of almost 2% week. Both benchmarks are also on track for a decrease that is monthly which could be the initial for Brent in six months.
“The prospect for the return of Libyan barrels to the market is contributing to the sentiment that is bearish” RBC Capital Markets said in a note. “However, we think the return regarding the barrels will be slow and subject to reversal based on the volatile safety and political photo.”
An oil tanker was loading a cargo on Thursday from one of three Libyan terminals that have been reopened in recent days and more cargoes are expected to be lifted in the days which can be coming.
Beyond that “crude prices will have difficulty rallying, on a basis that is structural unless refining margins lead the path higher,” RBC said.
Into the United States, which includes the death cost that is highest through the COVID-19 crisis and may be the earth’s biggest oil consumer, unemployment claims unexpectedly rose last week suggesting an financial recovery is flailing and pushing down fuel demand.
U.S. crude, gasoline and distillate inventories all fell week that is last according to government data on Wednesday. Oil prices were little changed on Friday but on course.
Still, U.S. fuel demand remains in the doldrums while the constrains that are pandemic. The average that is four-week demand last week was 9% below a year earlier, federal government information showed earlier in the week.
In the rest of the world, daily increases of coronavirus infections are hitting records and restrictions which are new being put in place that will likely limit interest in travel and fuel.