NEW YORK- Oil prices fell nearly 2 percent, limiting their weekly gain due to concerns the global recovery could falter from a resurgence of coronavirus cases.
The rise in infections remains the dominant issue for the fuel demand outlook. Cases in the United States are still rising in a number of states, while India recently reported a record daily jump in infections. More than 700,000 people have died in the worldwide pandemic.
Brent crude fell 69 cents, or 1.5 percent, to settle at $44.40 a barrel. US West Texas
Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 fell 73 cents, or 1.7 percent, to end at $41.22 a barrel.
Brent rose 2.5 percent for the week, while WTI gained 2.4 percent.
Talks between US lawmakers over another round of stimulus have stalled, meanwhile. US President Donald Trump has threatened to pull White House representatives out of talks and instead issue executive orders to address economic needs.
“The US Congress can’t seem to come up with a plan for the next round of stimulus and it’s creating doubt for US economic recovery,” said Gary Cunningham, director of market research at Tradition Energy.
OPEC member Iraq pledged to cut output further in August, which helped support prices.
The nation has been a laggard in fully meeting its pledge as part of an April deal to reduce supply.
Crude has recovered from lows reached in April, when Brent slipped below $16, a 21-year low.
“Keeping the price levels would be unrealistic,” Bjornar Tonhaugen of Rystad Energy said of this week’s rise. “Traders rushed to the task today to correct the gains, remembering the invisible enemy, COVID-19.”
US non-farm payrolls for July came in slightly better than expected, but still showed employment growth slowed. US Democratic leaders said the jobs report showed more investments were needed.