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Oil Prices Edge Lower On Demand Concerns

Oil prices fell slightly on Wednesday amid concerns that demand will continue to falter as a result of wide-ranging new Covid-19 restrictions being implemented around Europe.

U.S. coronavirus cases are also rising again, raising fears that the anticipated cold-weather uptick in infections has arrived.

Benchmark Brent crude fell 19 cents, or half a percent, to $42.26 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures were down 25 cents, or 0.6 percent, at $39.95 a barrel.

Governments across Europe are tightening local restrictions to regain control of resurgent coronavirus infections.

The regional government of Catalonia, Spain's most-populous region, is weighing a complete shutdown of bars and restaurants to stem the spread of the virus.

In France, Paris, Marseille and seven other large cities have been placed under maximum alert.

The new three-tier system of Covid-19 restrictions has begun in England, raising concerns that the tighter measures will impact economic growth and damage oil demand.

The Midwest and West are driving a virus surge in the United States, the world's biggest oil consumer.

World oil demand will rebound more slowly in 2021 than previously thought as coronavirus cases rise, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said in its monthly report on Tuesday.

Inventory reports from American Petroleum Institute and the Energy Information Administration are delayed by a day because of the Columbus Day holiday on Monday in the United States.

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