Oil eases on demand risks

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    TOKYO- Oil prices fell on Thursday as major producers warned of a risk to the recovery in demand if the coronavirus crisis is prolonged, while US crude inventories dropped less than expected.

    Brent crude was down 28 cents, or 0.6 percent, at $45.09 after slipping 0.2 percent in the previous session.

    US oil was down 31 cents, or 0.7 percent, at $42.62 a barrl, after inching higher on Wednesday.

    Stockpiles of crude in the United States fell last week for a fourth straight week, even as net imports rose. However, the 1.6 million barrel decline was less than a Reuters poll showing expectations for a 2.7 million barrel fall.

    Still, stockpiles are expected to continue declining, according to analysts.

    “We expect that total crude stocks will continue to head towards their five-year average in the weeks ahead as US production remains subdued,” Capital Economics said in a note. – Reuters