Oil prices slumps lower on Monday as rising Corvid-19 cases and tighter restrictions in Europe and China fueled worries over a slower recovery in fuel demand.
Encouraging gross domestic product (GDP) and industrial production data from China helped to limit the downside to some extent.
Brent crude for March delivery eased 0.2 per cent to 54.98 dollars a barrel, after falling 2.3 per cent on Friday.
Similarly, U.S. oil futures were down by 0.1 per cent at 52.36 dollars after falling more than 2 per cent in the previous session.
China reported more than 100 new COVID-19 cases for the sixth consecutive day, while the number of hospitalised COVID-19 patients with serious symptoms in Japan topped 970, marking a record high since the onset of the pandemic in the country.
Portugal imposed a new nationwide lockdown, while the British government announced that it will shutdown all travel means from Momday in order to restrict the spread of new Coronavirus variant cases.
New Coronavirus infections have been decreasing in Germany but the country’s health minister said that more needed to be done to bring it permanently under control.
Crude oil exports from Saudi Arabia so far in January have dropped below levels observed in December, tanker-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg show. A surge in flows to India has not been enough to offset the decline to other major buyers.
The U.S. dollar strengthened, reducing the appeal of commodities priced in the currency. U.S. consumer sentiment cooled more than forecast in January and other economic data such as sluggish retail sales and producer prices also portray the obstacles still facing the country as it emerges from the pandemic.