Oil drops 4% as U.S. vote count continues, coronavirus cases rise

By Jessica Resnick-Ault NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil fell below $40 a barrel on Friday as rising global coronavirus cases stoked fears about lackluster demand and as drawn-out vote counting in the U.S. presidential election kept markets on edge.

Reuters November 07, 2020 02:05:46 IST
Oil drops 4% as U.S. vote count continues, coronavirus cases rise

coronavirus cases rise" src="https://images.firstpost.com/wp-content/uploads/reuters/11-2020/07/2020-11-06T010535Z_1_LYNXMPEGA502G_RTROPTP_2_USA-SHALE-BANKRUPTCY.jpg" alt="Oil drops 4 as US vote count continues coronavirus cases rise" width="300" height="225" />

By Jessica Resnick-Ault

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil fell below $40 a barrel on Friday as rising global coronavirus cases stoked fears about lackluster demand and as drawn-out vote counting in the U.S. presidential election kept markets on edge.

France reported record coronavirus cases, intensifying concerns that additional lockdowns in Europe could weigh on demand.

In the U.S. election, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden took the lead over President Donald Trump in Georgia and Pennsylvania on Friday, edging closer to winning the White House as a handful of states continue to count votes.

Three days after polls closed, Biden has a 253 to 214 lead in the state-by-state Electoral College vote that determines the winner, according to Edison Research. Winning Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes would put the former vice president over the 270 he needs to secure the presidency.

Brent crude fell $1.46, or 3.6%, to $39.47 by 2:07 p.m. EST (1907 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) dropped $1.58, or 4.1% to $37.21 a barrel.

Still, Brent was heading for a 5% weekly gain, and U.S. crude was up 4% on the week.

Diminishing prospects of a large U.S. stimulus package were also weighing on the market.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Friday that economic statistics including a 1 percentage point drop in the U.S. unemployment rate showed that Congress should enact a smaller coronavirus stimulus package that is highly targeted at the effects of the pandemic.

"Crude oil is very sensitive to the stimulus expectations, which just took a hit for the worse," said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho. "The coronavirus situation is as negative a demand indicator as you can get," he said.

Coronavirus cases in the United States surged by at least 120,276 on Thursday, according to a Reuters tally, the second consecutive daily record rise as the outbreak spreads in every region.

Italy recorded its highest daily number of COVID-19 infections on Thursday. France registered a record 60,486 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday, after posting a record 58,046 on Thursday, health ministry data showed.

Providing some support, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russia, a group known as OPEC+, could delay bringing back 2 million barrels per day of supply in January, given weaker demand after new lockdowns.

U.S. crude inventories plunged last week by 8 million barrels, against analyst expectations for an increase.

(Additional reporting by Aaron Sheldrick and Alex Lawler; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Louise Heavens)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

IAEA and U.S. pressure Iran over uranium particles at 'atomic warehouse'
World

IAEA and U.S. pressure Iran over uranium particles at 'atomic warehouse'

VIENNA (Reuters) - The U.N. nuclear watchdog and the United States pressured Iran on Wednesday to finally explain the origin of uranium particles found almost two years ago at an old but undeclared site that Israel has called a "secret atomic warehouse". Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drew attention to the Turqazabad site in Tehran in a speech to the United Nations in September 2018, urging the International Atomic Energy Agency to visit it

Sri Lanka's Gotabaya says has reassembled nation's intelligence network
World

Sri Lanka's Gotabaya says has reassembled nation's intelligence network

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said on Wednesday he had delivered on a key election promise to rebuild the island nation's intelligence network in the year since assuming office.

Pole and Chinese citizen indicted in Warsaw for spying
World

Pole and Chinese citizen indicted in Warsaw for spying

WARSAW (Reuters) - Polish authorities said on Wednesday a former secret service agent and a Chinese citizen who worked for a telecommunications company have been charged with spying for China. Reuters previously reported on the allegations against an employee of Huawei and a former Polish domestic intelligence operative who were being investigated by the Warsaw government for suspected espionage