Oil prices slip as pandemic takes toll on India’s fuel sales

Flare stacks beside two oilfield pumpjacks, belonging to Whiting Oil & Gas Corp., producing crude on wells in the Bakken Formation (Williston Basin) near Ray, ND on Sept. 8, 2018. (AP)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Oil prices fell on Monday as a catastrophic second wave of a coronavirus epidemic in India cut short a recovery in oil demand there.

Brent crude futures fell 10 cents to $66.66 a barrel by 0809 GMT while U.S. West Texas Intermediate was down 6 cents at $63.52 per barrel.

State-level restrictions aimed at stemming infections in India have caused fuel sales in the world’s third largest consumer to drop in April, preliminary data shows.

“Overall fuel demand is down by 7% from pre-COVID level of April 2019,” A.K. Singh, head of marketing at refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp told Reuters.

India’s demand was close to pre-COVID levels in March, Singh said.

“Given that it still appears as though COVID-19 in India has not peaked, we expect to see further downside to fuel demand over May,” ING analysts said in a note, according to Reuters.

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