Oil falls on demand growth woes as virus lingers

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    MELBOURNE- Oil futures fell on Thursday on concerns the economic recovery in the United States, the world’s biggest oil consumer, is slowing as the coronavirus outbreak lingers and a resurgence in European cases led to new travel restrictions there.

    Those fears prompted a rally in the dollar as investors turned to safer assets, adding pressure to oil prices. A stronger dollar makes oil, priced in US dollars, less attractive to global buyers.

    US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 36 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $39.57 a barrel, while Brent crude futures fell 28 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $41.49 a barrel.

    Both benchmarks climbed slightly on Wednesday after government data showed US crude and fuel stockpiles dropped last week. Gasoline inventories fell more than expected, sliding by 4 million barrels, and distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and jet fuel, posted a surprise drawdown of 3.4 million barrels.

    Still, fuel demand in the US remains subdued as the coronavirus pandemic limits travel.

    The four-week average of gasoline demand was 8.5 million barrels per day (bpd) last week, the government data showed, down 9 percent from a year earlier. —Reuters