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Oil prices end the week down as demand’s rebound gets patchy


  Oil prices fell last week with spreading coronavirus cases in countries such as India tempering optimism around positive signs out of the U.S. and Europe.

  Futures in New York rose the most in over a week on Friday, but were unable to reverse a 1.6% weekly loss as the market weighed a global economic reopening that’s coming in fits and starts. The U.S. has remained near the forefront of the world’s budding demand recovery from the pandemic, and the latest manufacturing figures out of Europe have stoked optimism around a recovery there.

  However, India has been setting record numbers of daily coronavirus cases, threatening demand in the world’s third-largest oil importer. The country’s diesel and gasoline consumption could fall by a fifth this month, and traders said the nation’s largest refiner had refrained from buying West African oil this week, defying expectations.

  “There was a real strong belief that we were going to see a very robust demand outlook from Asia,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda Corp. But with concerns in countries such as India and Japan, it shows “the global economic recovery is not going to be balanced by any means, and that’s going to derail the international travel situation.”

  Oil is up almost 30% this year, but prices have struggled to reach new heights recently with the coronavirus situation deteriorating in some key oil consuming countries. India’s combined consumption of diesel and gasoline is poised to plunge by as much as 20% in April from a month earlier due to renewed restrictions, according to officials from refiners and fuel retailers. Meanwhile, Japan is facing an increase in cases and a state of emergency will be declared from Sunday to May 11 in cities including Tokyo.

  “In the short-term, the market is facing an uneven recovery in demand,” said Andrew Lebow, senior partner at Commodity Research Group. “With concerns around India and Japan, which are two of the top five consumers of petroleum products, the market is trying to gauge where we’re going on demand.”


  WTI for June delivery rose 71 cents to settle at $62.14 a barrel

  Brent for the same month gained 71 cents to settle at $66.11 a barrel. The contract fell nearly 1% over the week