Oil prices eased on Friday but stayed within touching distance of nine-month highs hit overnight as soaring Covid-19 cases weigh on fuel demand and U.S. lawmakers continue to battle over a $900 billion economic stimulus package.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures slipped 7 cents or 0.1%, to $48.29 a barrel at 0218 GMT, while Brent crude futures fell 13 cents, or 0.3%, to $51.37 a barrel.
OPEC+ plans to add 500,000 barrels per day of supply to the market in January, in the first step toward returning 2 million bpd to the market.
While rising consumption in Asia and demand hopes linked to a COVID-19 vaccine may help oil prices above this range ($50-$60 a barrel), we think OPEC+ sits on enough spare oil capacity to keep any surge in oil prices in check.
ANZ Research said with U.S. Covid-19 infections hitting new daily records, and restrictions tightening in Japan, pressure is growing on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Russia and their allies, together called OPEC+.