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Oil prices slide as virus surge weakens sentiments, Bonny Light loses 60 cents

Major setback awaits Nigerian economy as more foreign oil companies prepare to exit

Oil prices toppled on Friday, extending the previous session losses, over fears that re-imposed lockdowns and curbs aimed at putting the coronavirus spread on leash in the United States and the rest of the world would hurt demand for fuel.

Brent crude futures dropped 60 cents or 1.42% to $41.75 per barrel at 07:38 West Africa Time after shedding over 2% on Thursday. U.S West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures declined by 71 cents or 1.79% to $38.91 a barrel.

Bonny Light, Nigeria’s top oil grade, toppled by 60 cents or 1.39% to $42.68 per barrel on Thursday. But another major national grade, Qua Iboe, bucked the market downturn, leaping by 39 cents or 0.91% to $43.33 yesterday.

Brent is on track for roughly 2% weekly decline and the WTI around 3%.

Read also: Oil prices fall after U.S. stockpile rise trigger supply worries

While analysts anticipate economic and fuel demand rebound from the pandemic, unprecedented daily rise in coronavirus cases in the United States, world’s largest oil consumer, stoke worries about recovery pace.

“I do not suspect many oil traders will be looking to place significant bids in the market today, suggesting prices may continue to wallow into the weekend,” Stephen Innes, chief global markets strategist at AxiCorp said.

United States posted 60,500 fresh cases on Thursday, setting a daily record, with citizens urged to embrace new precautions. The figure was equally the highest daily count yet for any nation since the pandemic broke out in China last year.

Oil stocks remain excessive on the grounds of a plunge in gasoline demand, diesel and other fuels during the initial outbreak.

U.S. crude oil storage ballooned by around 6 million barrels last week after analysts predicted a fall of more than half of that figure.

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