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Oil prices steady as clouds gather over fuel demand, looser supply curbs

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 futures rose 1 cent to $40.76 a barrel at 0204 GMT, while Brent crude LCOc1 futures were steady at $43.37 a barrel. Both were still on track to end the week up slightly.

On Thursday, the United States reported at least 75,000 new COVID-19 cases, a new daily record. Spain and Australia reported their steepest daily jumps in more than two months,. 

The two benchmark contracts fell 1% on Thursday after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies, together known as OPEC+, agreed to trim record supply cuts of 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) imposed earlier this year by some 2 million bpd from August.

But actual output additions will be closer to 1.1 million bpd, as countries like Iraq – which overproduced compared with their commitments to cut supply in May through July – agreed to bigger reductions in August and September.

Analysts expect the market to remain in the $40-45 a barrel range, with the looming return of some U.S. supply and uncertainty over fuel demand as new lockdowns may be needed to curb the resurgence of COVID-19 cases.

 

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