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Oil Prices Fall On Virus Worries

Oil prices fell on Monday as worries over rising coronavirus cases overshadowed stimulus hopes.

Benchmark Brent crude fell 1.3 percent to $55.27 a barrel, after having earlier climbed to $56.39, its highest since Feb. 25, 2020.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 0.8 percent at $51.80 a barrel, after having hit its highest level in nearly a year on Friday.

With the identification of cases of the new strains of coronavirus — from the U.K. and South Africa — Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel warned locals "these next winter weeks will be the hardest phase of the pandemic".

The warning came after 465 new deaths were reported on Saturday, taking the death toll to 40,343.

Elsewhere, mainland China saw its biggest daily increase in Covid-19 cases in more than five months, as new infections in Hebei province, which surrounds the capital Beijing, continued to rise.

Investors fear that travel bans and the closure of schools and workplaces in Europe coupled with new movement restrictions in China could weigh on fuel demand.

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