Oil down as COVID-19 cases surge

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    NEW YORK – Oil edged lower on Friday, falling more than 2 percent on the week as COVID-19 cases surged globally and oil supply is set to rise in coming weeks.

    Brent crude futures settled at $41.92 a barrel, down 2 cents, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures lost 6 cents to $40.25 a barrel.

    Brent dropped 2.9 percent for the week and WTI sunk 2.1 percent

    “There is this second wave of fear overhanging the oil market at this point and that’s holding us back,” said Phil Flynn, senior analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.

    In the world’s top oil consumer the United States, infections are rising in the Midwest, while New York City, which was hit hardest in the spring, is considering renewed shutdown mandates. More than 200,000 people have died of the virus in the nation.

    US fuel consumption remains sluggish as the pandemic constrains travel and hampers economic recovery. The four-week average of gasoline demand last week was 9 percent below a year earlier.

    In other parts of the world, daily increases of coronavirus infections are hitting records and new restrictions are being put in place to limit travel.

    In India, throughput by crude oil refiners in August fell 26 percent from a year ago, most in four months, as demand ebbed because the pandemic is hindering industrial and transport activity.