An oil tanker is docked near fuel tanks at Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta, Indonesia. Picture: BLOOMBERG/DIMAS ARDIAN
An oil tanker is docked near fuel tanks at Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta, Indonesia. Picture: BLOOMBERG/DIMAS ARDIAN

Tokyo — Oil fell on Thursday for the first session this week as renewed concern about demand recovery amid rising Covid-19 infections cut short a three-day rally.

Brent crude was down 37c, or 0.5%, at $71.88 a barrel by 4.40am GMT, having risen 1.7% on Wednesday.

US oil was down 50c, or 0.7%, at $67.86 a barrel, after gaining 1.2% in the previous session.

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that American crude inventories fell last week for a third consecutive week and overall fuel demand increased to the most since March 2020, boosting prices about 10% through Wednesday.

But the demand picture is not entirely bullish.

“For now, US consumers appear to be shrugging off the spread of the Delta variant... However, it seems likely that we are near the peak in US demand, which will act as a lid on oil prices,” Capital Economics said in a note.

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and jet fuel, rose last week, gaining 0.6-million barrels to 138.46-million barrels, against expectations for a 0.3-million-barrel drop, according to the EIA data.

The return of output in Mexico, where a fire on Sunday on an offshore platform killed at least five workers and knocked out a bit over 400,000 barrels a day (bbl/day) of production, is also pressuring prices.

Pemex had so far recovered 71,000bbl/day of production and expects to add an additional 110,000bbl/day within a few hours.

More broadly, fresh outbreaks fuelled by the Delta variant of the coronavirus are raising concerns about the strength of the economic recovery globally.

“Although prices had reversed strongly ... questions remain on how the ever-surging number of Covid-19 cases globally will impact fuel demand,” said Avtar Sandu, senior manager commodities at Phillip Futures in Singapore.

“In the short term the oil market may be volatile with frequent pullback,” he said.

Reuters

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