Oil slips, but posts a gain for the week

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Oil prices fell more than 1% on Friday, limiting their weekly gain due to concerns the global recovery could falter from a resurgence of coronavirus cases.

The rise in infections remains the dominant issue for the fuel demand outlook. Cases in the United States are still rising in a number of states, while India recently reported a record daily jump in infections. More than 700,000 people have died in the worldwide pandemic.

Brent crude fell 78 cents, or 1.7%, to $44.31 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate crude settled 67 cents, or 1.6%, lower at $41.28 per barrel.

Brent is set for a weekly gain of 2.3%, while WTI is on track to rise 2.1%.

OPEC member Iraq pledged to cut output further in August, which helped support prices. The nation has been a laggard in fully meeting its pledge as part of an April deal to reduce supply.

Crude has recovered from lows reached in April, when Brent slipped below $16, a 21-year low.

“Keeping the price levels would be unrealistic,” Bjornar Tonhaugen of Rystad Energy said of this week’s rise. “Traders rushed to the task today to correct the gains, remembering the invisible enemy, COVID-19.”

U.S. non-farm payrolls for July came in slightly better than expected, but still showed employment growth slowed. U.S. Democratic leaders said the jobs report showed more investments were needed.

U.S. energy companies cut the number of oil and natural gas rigs this week to a record low for a 14th week. U.S. oil rigs fell by four to 176 this week, their lowest since July 2005, according to data on Friday from energy services firm Baker Hughes Co.

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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