Oil prices fall as new virus cases weigh on demand recovery

Oil prices fall as new virus cases weigh on demand recovery

Oil prices fell on Friday, losing earlier gains, as the surge of new coronavirus cases in the United States raised concerns about fuel demand recovery. 

Brent crude futures lost 0.7%, or 29 cents, at $42.85 per barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 0.8%, or 31 cents, at $40.34 per barrel. 

Both benchmarks gained over 2% on Thursday, supported by an upbeat U.S. jobs data and a decline in U.S. crude stockpiles. Brent is up 4.4%, while WTI is up 4.8% this week.

New coronavirus cases in the United States rose over 50,000 on Thursday, hitting a record rise for the third straight day. 

Analysts say that restrictions to be reimposed once cases continue to surge could greatly affect crude oil prices.

Meanwhile, investors are closely watching gasoline demand as the U.S. July 4 holiday approaches, when Americans are expected to travel.

U.S. gasoline stocks rose by 1.2 million barrels in the week ended June 26. 

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