REUTERS

Oil prices fell on Thursday, pulling back from an eight-week high as concerns about the coronavirus crisis in India, the world's third-biggest importer of crude, tempered a rally driven by IEA and OPEC predictions that demand is coming back strongly.

Brent crude LCOc1 was down 66 cents, or 1%, at $68.66 a barrel by 0444 GMT, after gaining 1% on Wednesday. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was down 67 cents, or 1%, to $65.41 a barrel, having risen 1.2% in the previous session, Reuters reported.

Oil demand is already outstripping supply and the shortfall is expected to grow further even if Iran boosts exports, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its monthly report on Wednesday.

Read alsoAverage price of imported gas up 18% in AprilA day earlier, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) stuck to its forecast for a strong return of world oil demand in 2021, with growth in China and the United States cancelling out the impact of the coronavirus crisis in India.

But global concern is rising over the situation in India, the world's second-most populous country, where a variant of the coronavirus is rampaging through the countryside in the deadliest 24 hours since the pandemic began.

Medical professionals are still unable to say for sure when new infections will plateau and other countries are alarmed over the transmissibility of the variant that is now spreading worldwide.

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