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Oil Futures End Sharply Lower On Demand Worries

Crude oil prices drifted lower on Friday amid concerns about outlook for energy demand following reports showing spikes in coronavirus cases in several parts across the world.

Also, news that talks between White House officials and Democratic leaders over a new coronavirus relief bill fell apart as the parties remained divided on key issues, including the quantum of money to be spent.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for September ended down $0.67 or about 1.6% at $41.28 a barrel. For the week, WTI crude oil futures gained 2.1%.

Brent crude futures slipped $0.78 or 1.7% to $44.31 a barrel. However, the contract gained about 2.3% in the week.

According to reports, there are signs of a second wave of coronavirus infections emerging in Europe after data showed an uptick in cases in some countries, including Spain, Belgium and Luxembourg.

Many other European states are seeing an increase in infections, based on a seven-day rolling average compared to the week prior.

Saudi Arabia's energy minister and Iraqi energy minister's comments that the two countries will stick to their commitments to OPEC+'s decision to curb oil production helped limit oil's decline.

Meanwhile, a report from Baker Hughes said the number of U.S. oil rigs fell by 4 this week to 176.

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