Oil prices fell on Monday on renewed concerns about global fuel demand amid strict coronavirus lockdowns in Europe and new movement restrictions in China, the world’s second-largest oil user, after a jump in cases there.
Brent crude oil futures fell 42 cents, or 0.8%, to $55.57 a barrel by 0146 GMT after earlier climbing to $56.39, its highest since Feb. 25, 2020. Brent rose in the previous four sessions.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) slipped 22 cents, or 0.4%, to $52.02 a barrel. WTI rose to its highest in nearly a year on Friday.
Mainland China saw its biggest daily increase in COVID-19 cases in more than five months, the country’s national health authority said on Monday, as new infections in Hebei province, which surrounds the capital Beijing, continued to rise.
The oil price losses were curbed by plans for U.S. President-elect Joe Biden to announce trillions of dollars in new coronavirus relief bills this week, much of which will be paid for by increased borrowing.
Crude prices remained supported by Saudi Arabia’s pledge last week for a voluntary oil output cut of 1 million barrels per day (bpd) in February and March as part of a deal under which most OPEC+ producers will hold production steady during new lockdowns.