Oil prices were little changed on Friday, but posted their second straight weekly loss as stockpiles rise around the world and fuel demand struggles to rebound to pre-coronavirus levels.
Both Brent and U.S. crude lost about 6% on the week after a series of signals that showed markets still have an abundance of supply. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait cut official selling prices to Asia, U.S. stockpiles rose and traders are booking vessels for storage.
Brent ended the session down 23 cents, or 0.6%, at $39.83 a barrel while U.S. crude settled up 3 cents at $37.33 a barrel.
Coronavirus infections are growing in several countries, led by India, where the health ministry reported a record daily jump of 96,551 new cases on Friday, taking the official total to 4.5 million.
U.S. stock markets ended lower for a second week following several economic indicators that suggest a long and difficult recovery from the pandemic.
“The financial markets are continuing to set the tone, including on the oil market … fears about an oversupply have added to the general feeling of uncertainty,” Commerzbank analysts said in a note.
In the United States, crude stockpiles rose 2 million barrels last week. Refineries slowly returned to operations after production sites were shut due to storms in the Gulf of Mexico.
Traders are starting to book tankers again to store crude oil and diesel, another signal of oversupply amid a stalled economic recovery as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
The market monitoring committee Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russia, or OPEC+, will meet on Sept. 17 to consider how to deal with worldwide oversupply. The group reduced output in the spring to allow stockpiles to run down.
In recent days, both Saudi Arabia and Kuwait lowered their official selling prices for crude to Asia for October, a signal of slower demand.
Money managers cut their net long U.S. crude futures and options positions in the most recent week, a sign hedge fund managers expect further weakness in the oil markets.
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