Oil prices fell on Monday, amid concerns over weak global fuel demand as a surge of COVID-19 infections hit China and Europe. China, the second-largest oil user globally, saw its largest daily rise in virus cases in over five months today, with authorities imposing lockdown measures barring people and vehicles from leaving Hebei’s capital Shijiazhuan near Beijing.
Meanwhile, most European countries remain under tighter social restrictions. Still, both Brent and WTI futures remained above the $50 mark as US President-elect Joe Biden pledges to announce trillions of dollars in new virus relief measures later in the week.
Saudi Arabia’s move during the prior week to voluntarily cut its oil output by 1 million barrels per day in February and March also continued to support oil prices.
At around 06:15 AM GMT, Brent crude retreated 1.2% to $55.32 a barrel, while WTI crude dropped 0.9% to $51.79 a barrel.