Oil prices fell around 1% on Thursday as a spike in new coronavirus cases in China and the United States renewed fears that a recovery in fuel demand could stall, even as lockdowns ease.
Brent crude LCOc1 futures fell 0.9%, or 37 cents, to $40.34 a barrel at 0423 GMT, having fallen 25 cents in the previous session, as reported by Reuters.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 futures dropped 1.4%, or 52 cents, to $37.44 a barrel, adding to a loss of 42 cents on Wednesday.
Worries about fuel demand rose after a surge in coronavirus cases led Beijing to cancel flights and shut schools and several U.S. states, including Texas, Florida and California, reported sharp increases in new cases.
A rise in U.S. crude stockpiles to a record high for a second week in a row also weighed on sentiment, even though U.S. government data showed inventories of gasoline and distillate, which include diesel and heating oil, fell.