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Oil Down 1 as China COVID19 Cases Trigger Clampdowns

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Oil prices fell on Friday, retreating further from 11month highs hit last week, weighed down by worries that new pandemic restrictions in China will curb fuel demand in the worlds biggest oil importer.

Brent crude futures fell 1.09, or 1.9, to 55.01 a barrel by 1021 GMT, after a 2 cent gain on Thursday.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate WTI crude futures dropped 1.07 cents, or 2, to 52.06, a day after slipping 18 cents.

The biggest source of concern for the energy complex right now is rising coronavirus cases in China, said Stephen Brennock of broker PVM. This will dampen the nearterm consumption outlook in the worlds epicentre for global oil demand growth.

Recovering fuel demand in China underpinned market gains late last year while the United States and Europe lagged, but that source of support is fading as a fresh wave of COVID19 cases has sparked new restrictions.

The commercial hub of Shanghai reported its first locally transmitted cases in two months on Thursday, and Beijing is urging people not to travel during the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday, when tens of millions of urban workers typically head to their home towns.

The market is awaiting official oil inventory data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Friday, after industry data on Wednesday showed a surprise 2.6 million barrel increase in U.S. crude inventories last week compared with analysts forecasts for a 1.2 million barrel draw. APIS

Global oil demand could decline marginally in the…

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