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Oil Slips from MultiMonth High, Virus Surge Prompt Lockdowns

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Oil prices slipped on Monday from multimonth highs as a continued surge in coronavirus cases globally forced a series of renewed lockdowns, including strict new measures in Southern California in the United States, the worlds top oil consumer.

Brent crude oil futures were down 21 cents, or 0.4, at 49.04 a barrel by 0747 GMT, while West Texas Intermediate oil futures fell 25 cents, or 0.5, to 46.01 a barrel. Both benchmarks gained for a fifth consecutive week last week.

Crude pared earlier vaccine rollout gains after Los Angeles county had another record high in coronavirus cases and South Korea raised their alert level, said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.

COVID restrictive measures and lockdowns across the globe seem poised to keep crude prices heavy in the short term.

The restrictions in California call for bars, hair and nail salons and tattoo shops to close again.

The southern German region of Bavaria announced on Sunday it would impose a tougher lockdown from Wednesday until Jan. 5, while South Korean authorities heightened social distancing rules for the capital Seoul and surrounding areas that would last until at least the end of the month.

Also weighing on prices, U.S. energy firms last week added oil and natural gas rigs for the 11th time in 12 weeks as producers return to the wellpad even as most are cutting spending this year and next.

Iran, meanwhile, has instructed its oil ministry to prepare installations for production and sale of crude…

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