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Oil prices down on concerns over COVID-19 vaccines

Oil prices fell on Monday over reported deaths of some elderly people after getting the COVID-19 vaccine, while the number of coronavirus cases is still surging to negatively affect oil demand recovery expectations.

Source: Anadolu Agency, by Sibel Morrow

International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $54.84 per barrel at 0646 GMT for a 0.47% fall after closing Wednesday at $55.10 a barrel.

American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded at $52.23 per barrel at the same time for a 0.25% decrease after it ended the previous session at $52.36 a barrel.

“Oil prices still seem to face uncertainties and will be kept under the $60 threshold as the gains they reflected last week were erased slightly on further lockdowns in Europe and Asia and rather disappointing news of vaccine results in different spots,” Political Risk and Oil Analyst Jose Chalhoub told Anadolu Agency.

While the number of cases worldwide has now reached over 95 million, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, some countries, including Germany and Norway, reported deaths of elderly people after getting the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech, which cast doubt over the safety of the vaccines and of a prompt economic recovery to negatively affect oil demand.

Meanwhile, Brazil vaccinated the first person on Sunday after the country’s health regulator approved the emergency use of both the Chinese vaccine Sinovac and a vaccine produced by Astrazeneca and the University of Oxford.

Brazil ranks third among countries with the highest number of cases, with over 8.4 million cases.

Chalhoub said in order to see the evolution of oil prices this week, the developments to watch include US President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, Libya’s continuing rise in production, recent oil discoveries in the Guyana Suriname basin and the next moves by OPEC+.

Further weighing on prices, the number of US oil rigs increased by 12 to 287 last week compared to the previous week, signaling greater short-term output and raising supply glut concerns.

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