Oil Prices Fall On Economic Recovery Concerns

Oil prices fell slightly on Friday after Hurricane Laura roared through Louisiana and Texas without causing any apparent major damage to the upstream or downstream facilities.

Benchmark Brent crude for November delivery dropped 0.4 percent to $45.44 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 0.3 percent at $42.91 a barrel.

At least six people were killed as Hurricane Laura, which has now been downgraded to a tropical storm status, smashed parts of U.S. state Louisiana and parts of Texas early Thursday with winds of 150 miles per hour (240 km per hour). U.S. President Donald Trump said he will visit the area during the weekend.

Investors also shifted their focus from production outages to demand destruction as Covid-19 cases continues to surge and U.S. economic continued to paint a mixed picture.

Europe is seeing a surge in new coronavirus cases, with some countries like Spain, France and Germany recording their highest number of daily infections since April as countries gradually reopened their economies, including greenlighting travel in mid-June.

The World Health Organization has warned of a possible uptick in hospitalizations and mortality rates in Europe during the winter.

The Labor Department’s report showed on Thursday that U.S. unemployment claims fell slightly last week but remained historically high, signaling layoffs.

Another report from the Commerce Department showed U.S. economic activity contracted slightly less than initially estimated in the second quarter, but there was a sharp drop in gross domestic product.

Separate data from the National Association of Realtors showed a much bigger than expected jump in pending home sales in the month of July.

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