Oil prices have slipped from nine-month highs due to surging cases of Covid-19, which is seen to reduce the near-term fuel demand.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell by $0.14 or 0.29% to $48.22 a barrel at 7.57am GMT while Brent crude futures dropped by $0.20, or 0.39%, to reach $51.30, reported Reuters.

More than 73.65 million people have been infected by Covid-19 worldwide, and 1,654,920 have died.

The increase in cases is leading to stringent restrictions on travel, thereby impacting fuel demand and the scope for economic recovery.

Meanwhile, data shows that the count of Americans filing claims for the first time for jobless benefits has risen last week.

ANZ Research was quoted by the news agency as saying that with Covid-19 infections touching new daily records, and tightening of restrictions in Japan, there is a growing pressure on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Russia and their allies, collectively called OPEC+.

OPEC+ intends to add 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) of supply from the first month of 2021, as the first step toward to hit a 2Mbpd target.

OANDA analyst Craig Erlam in a note said: “While OPEC+ has shown it’s ready and willing to adapt to evolving market conditions, which should protect crudes value in the longer term, near-term challenges may still weigh on recent bullish momentum.”