Oil prices ease

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    TOKYO- Oil futures eased on Thursday, surrendering some gains from the previous day as the surge in coronavirus cases and tighter economic restrictions around the globe stoked fears over slower fuel demand, outweighing upbeat vaccine news.

    Brent crude futures shed 17 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $44.17 a barrel, after gaining 1.4 percent on the previous day. US West Texas Intermediate crude declined 29 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $41.53 a barrel, having risen nearly 1 percent on Wednesday.

    “The spread of coronavirus infection and fresh restrictions in the United States and other parts of the world hit market sentiment as it would hamper fuel demand,” said Kazuhiko Saito, chief analyst at Fujitomi Co.

    “Investors are also booking profits from the recent rally before the US Thanksgiving holiday later this month,” he said.

    The US death toll from COVID-19 surpassed a grim new milestone of 250,000 lives lost on Wednesday, as New York City’s public school system, the nation’s largest, called a halt to inclassroom instruction, citing a jump in coronavirus infection rates.

    Daily coronavirus cases in Tokyo and South Korea hit fresh highs, as pollution-cloaked New Delhi struggled with rising cases and Australia reported a highly contagious virus strain which forced a state-wide lockdown.