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Oil Futures Settle Sharply Lower On Demand Worries

Crude oil prices drifted lower on Friday, coming off six-week highs, as worries about energy demand resurfaced amid a continued surge in coronavirus cases in Asia.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for June ended down $1.43 or about 2.2% at $63.58 a barrel. However, the WTI futures contract for June gained more than 7% for the month.

Brent crude futures were down $1.33 or 1.95% at $66.68 a barrel a little while ago.

India reported another sharp spike in coronavirus cases, with more than 3.86 lakh people getting infected on Friday. Some of the biggest cities in the country are on lockdown again, dampening the prospects of energy demand. Brazil and Japan have also reported spikes in infections.

Weak factory activity data from China and a contraction in Euro Zone economic growth also weighed on crude oil prices. According to Eurostat, Eurozone GDP shrank by 0.6% in the first three months of this year as a slow vaccine rollout and ongoing lockdowns delayed the recovery.

According to a report from Baker Hughes, oil and natural gas rigs count rose by two to 440 in the week, the highest since April 2020.

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