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Oil Falls as Rising Global COVID-19 Numbers Fuel Demand Worries

By Gina Lee – Oil was down Monday morning in Asia, as rising numbers of COVID-19 cases globally stoked fuel demand recovery fears.

Brent oil futures rose 0.45% to $66.47 by 11:32 PM ET (3:32 AM GMT). WTI futures held steady at $63.19 after rolling over to the June 2021 contract on Apr. 18.

“With … a resurgence of virus cases in India and Japan, topside ambitions continue to run into walls of profit-taking,” Axi chief market strategist Stephen Innes told Reuters.

India reported 261,500 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, and currently has the second-highest number of cases globally after the U.S. The number of deaths globally has also surpassed the 3 million mark as of Apr. 19, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Hong Kong on Sunday slapped a two-week ban on flights from India, Pakistan and the Philippines in effect from Apr. 20, as the first two cases of the mutated N501Y COVID-19 strain were reported over the weekend.

Numbers are also rising in Japan, which is on the cusp of a fourth wave of infections, which in turn could impact fuel demand in the world’s third-largest economy.

A slower-than-expected rollout of COVID-19 vaccines is also of concern to investors. Investors are also keeping an eye on the global crude oil supply, with data from the American Petroleum Institute due on Tuesday.

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