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Oil Futures Settle Lower On Demand Concerns

Crude oil prices edged lower on Thursday, weighed down by concerns about the outlook for energy demand due to rising coronavirus cases and reports about extended lockdown measures in several countries around the world.

Recent data showing a surge in U.S. gasoline stocks weighed as well. The Energy Information Administration's data on Wednesday showed gasoline stocks increased by 4 million barrels versus expectations of a declines as refiners ramped up production before the summer driving season.

Traders were also following the progress on the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal front and weighing plans by OPEC+ to progressively add production amid bets on a significant boost in oil demand over the coming months as vaccinations gain pace.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for May ended down $0.17 or about 0.3% at $59.60 a barrel.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies have announced a roadmap to ease production curbs over the three months to July by restoring more than 2 million barrels a day.

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