REUTERS

Oil prices dropped on Thursday, weighed down by concerns that U.S. economic recovery is slowing as the coronavirus outbreak lingers, while a renewed wave of COVID-19 cases in Europe have led to reimposed travel restrictions in several countries.

The jitters over demand and economic outlook due to the coronavirus resurgence have prompted a rally in the dollar as investors turned to safer assets, adding pressure to oil prices. A stronger dollar makes oil, priced in U.S. dollars, less attractive to global buyers, as reported by Reuters.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 60 cents, or 1.5%, to $39.33 a barrel at 0445 GMT, while Brent crude futures dropped 47 cents, or 1.1%, to $41.30 a barrel.

Read alsoIndustrial output slowing down in annual termsBoth benchmarks climbed slightly on Wednesday after government data showed U.S. crude and fuel stockpiles dropped last week. Gasoline inventories fell more than expected, sliding by 4 million barrels, and distillate stockpiles posted a surprise drawdown of 3.4 million barrels.

Still, fuel demand in the U.S. remains subdued as the pandemic limits travel. The four-week average of gasoline demand was 8.5 million barrels per day (bpd) last week, the government data showed, down 9% from a year earlier.

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