Oil prices fell on Monday; fears of 2nd coronavirus wave

Oil prices fell on Monday as concern over a persistent glut and economic gloom caused by the coronavirus pandemic combined to cancel out support from supply cuts at some of the world’s top producers.

Brent crude futures were down 29 cents, or 0.9%, at $30.68 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 17 cents, or 0.7%, to $24.57 a barrel.

Both benchmarks have notched up gains over the past two weeks as countries have eased business and social lockdowns imposed to cope with the coronavirus and fuel demand has rebounded modestly. Oil production worldwide is also declining. 

Global oil demand has plummeted by about 30% as the coronavirus pandemic curtailed movement across the world, building up inventories globally.

Fears that the United States is running out of storage space triggered WTI prices crashing into negative territory last month, prompting some U.S. producers to slash output.

“People are surprised by how quickly the U.S. is shutting in production and that’s exactly what we need in order to support prices,” said Tony Nunan, a senior risk manager at Mitsubishi Corp in Tokyo.

“There’s another 10 days before the June contract expires … if the WTI contract can avoid a crash going into expiry, hopefully we’ve seen the bottom.”

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