(New York) Oil prices stagnated on Thursday, amid concerns about Asian demand due to the Coronavirus pandemic and a drop in Libyan production.
Brent North Sea barrel for June delivery closed at $ 65.40 in London, up 0.12% from Wednesday’s close.
In New York, a barrel of WTI for the same month raised 0.13% to $ 61.43.
“Investors are concerned about the explosion of COVID-19 cases in India,” said Naeem Aslam, an analyst at Avatrade.
The country Thursday announced nearly 315,000 new cases of COVID-19 identified over a 24-hour period, a world record.
At its peak in 2019, India was consuming more than 5 million barrels per day, ranking third after the United States and China, according to figures released by the oil giant BP.
Over the past decade 2008-2018, the annual growth in crude oil consumption in the country has reached 5%, according to the same source.
Japan is also witnessing a new wave of infections and a new state of emergency may be declared on Friday in some departments, including Tokyo and Osaka.
The unexpected rise in crude oil inventories in the United States, according to figures released by the US Energy Information Agency on Wednesday, also affected oil prices on Thursday.
Commercial crude reserves rose by 600,000 barrels last week, beating analysts’ expectations for a decrease of 3.55 million barrels. This is their first increase in a month.
But black gold prices were supported by fears of a decrease in Libyan supply.
“Libya is still facing headwinds as it strives to preserve its export and production capacity, with shipments expected to drop in the coming weeks,” said Ruby Fraser of Schneider Electric.