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Oil Prices Dip On Covid-19 Worries

Oil prices fell on Thursday as a surge in coronavirus infections coupled with concerns about new lockdowns and restrictions in the U.S. and Europe offset additional positive developments on the vaccine front. A rising dollar also made oil more expensive for holders of other currencies.

Benchmark Brent crude dropped 0.9 percent to $43.95 per barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 1.3 percent at $41.45.

New York City public schools are closing and returning to remote learning for all 1.1 million students, signaling that a second wave of the coronavirus has arrived.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced a month-long stop to social gatherings, gyms and indoor service at bars and restaurants as the virus spread spiked to a record high.

U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico are expected to remain closed to non-essential travel until Dec. 21 amid a rising number of U.S. coronavirus cases.

The drag from new U.S. restrictions was amplified by the total lack of progress on a fiscal stimulus bill, with New York Federal Williams warning that a loss of fiscal support could slow economy in the coming months.

Meanwhile, data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed crude stockpiles in the U.S. increased by 768,000 barrels last week, less than an expected increase of 1.65 million barrels.

The data also showed that oil stored at Cushing, Oklahoma, rose by 1.2 million barrels last week, against expectations for a build of 2.15 million barrels.

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