NEW YORK – Oil prices dropped on Thursday, weighed down by the steady rise in coronavirus infections and as the outcome of the U.S. presidential election had still not been settled.

Oil falls as European lockdowns, U.S. election uncertainty dominate markets- oil and gas 360

Source: Reuters

Brent crude LCOc1 fell 41 cents, or 1%, to $40.81 a barrel by 12:24 EDT (1724 GMT) and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 was down 50 cents, or 1.3%, at $38.65. Both contracts jumped about 4% on Wednesday.

The European Union’s executive commission lowered its economic forecast Thursday morning, adding that said the economy wouldn’t rebound to pre-virus levels until 2023.

“That’s a very negative demand indicator,” said Bob Yawger, director of Energy Futures at Mizuho.

Italy posted its highest one day of infections on Thursday, while the United States surpassed 100,000 infections in a day last week, a record.

The Bank of England increased its bond-buying stimulus as it prepared for economic damage from new coronavirus lockdowns and the looming risk of Brexit. The bank said Britain’s economy was set to shrink a record 11% over the course of 2020 overall.

“There’s fatigue from the market on the renwed lockdown and the efforts abnd the damage to be done to the economy,” said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York. The lockdowns in Europe will remove 1.5 million barrels a day of demand, Kilduff added.

Democratic candidate Joseph Biden predicted victory over President Donald Trump after winning two critical U.S. states while the Republican incumbent alleged fraud without evidence, filed lawsuits and demanded recounts in a bitter contest that has yet to be decided.

Current vote counting and trends suggest the Republicans are poised to retain control of the U.S. Senate, while the Democrats will hold a slimmed majority in the House of Representatives.

Oil prices had surged on Wednesday on growing expectations that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, together called OPEC+, would hold off on bringing back 2 million bpd of supply in January, given demand has been sapped by new COVID-19 lockdowns.

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