Crude oil futures settled modestly higher on Thursday, despite concerns about the outlook for energy demand due to imposition of restrictions on movements in several countries amid a surge in coronavirus cases.
In the U.S., daily new case rate crossed the 200,000 mark for the second consecutive day.
With nearly 230,000 new cases reporting across the country in the last 24 hours, the total number of patients infected with the disease increased to over 19,744,700.
West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for February ended with a gain of $0.12 or about 0.3% at $48.52 a barrel.
WTI Crude oil futures shed about 21% in calendar year 2020, while Brent crude futures tumbled more than 22%.
According to a Reuters poll, oil prices may not see any sharp uptick next year due to a new coronavirus variant and the travel restrictions imposed in several countries.
The report says several analysts are of the view that oil demand is unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels before late 2022 or 2023.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies including Russia, are scheduled to meet on January 4 to discuss policy and to consider a possible tapering of production cuts.