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March 17, 2021

Oil prices edge down on renewed demand concerns in Europe

Global crude oil prices have dropped as the stalled vaccine rollout in Europe raised fresh concerns over recovery in demand despite a fall in US crude stockpiles last week.

By Umesh Ellichipuram

Global crude oil prices have dropped as the stalled vaccine rollout in Europe raised fresh concerns over recovery in demand despite a fall in US crude stockpiles last week.

The US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell by $0.05 to reach $64.75 a barrel whereas Brent crude futures dropped by $0.10, or 0.2%, to reach $68.29 a barrel, reported Reuters .

As per the industry data, US crude stockpiles dipped unexpectedly last week, boosting the hopes of a recovery in refinery operations in the country.

Over the past few days, oil prices have been drifting lower over concerns about the stalled rollouts of the Covid-19 vaccine, which could slow fuel demand recovery.

ANZ Research was cited by the news agency as saying in a note: “Concerns that demand could fall further have been rising as Europe’s health ministers suspend the rollout of AstraZeneca vaccine amid health concerns.”

ANZ said that oil demand remains weak in the European countries and is increasing in the US and India.

Citing American Petroleum Institute ’s data, trading sources said that crude inventories in the US dropped by one million barrels in the week ending 12 March.

Axi chief global market strategist Stephen Innes was reported by Reuters as saying: “The market was wrong-footed but still pleasantly surprised after US oil stockpiles unexpectedly fell last week.”

Meanwhile, gasoline stocks slipped by 926,000 barrels, compared to the three million barrel estimate.

Innes added: “The narrower weekly draw in gasoline stocks signalled that refiner activity was normalising after a big freeze in Texas smothered production in the previous month.”

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