Crude oil futures fell more than 0.7% to trade around $41.5 a barrel on Thursday, amid mounting concerns about near term fuel demand as the number of coronavirus infections continue to rise worldwide and led several countries to impose fresh restrictions.
The US death toll from COVID-19 surpassed the 250,000 mark on Wednesday and New York City’s schools were shut due to a spike in cases.
The Japanese capital Tokyo raised its coronavirus alert to the highest of four levels on Thursday with its daily tally of new infections set for a record high of more than 500.
At the same time, Libya’s National Oil Corporation and France’s Total discussed NOC’s efforts to raise capacity and increase production rates to the highest levels.
Putting a floor under prices were prospects that a coronavirus vaccine may be available soon and hopes that OPEC+ will delay a planned increase in oil output.