Crude oil futures settled sharply lower on Friday as worries about energy demand resurfaced amid rising coronavirus cases and tighter restrictions on movements in several countries, including China.
West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for February ended down $1.21 or about 2.3% at $52.36 a barrel.
Brent crude futures were down $1.40 or about 2.5% at $55.02 a barrel a little while ago.
Coronavirus cases cross two million in Germany today, prompting authorities to consider a “mega-lockdown.” Portugal imposed a new nationwide lockdown while Britain said entry into the country will require negative tests. Brazil and Lebanon too tightened restrictions on movements.
Fresh curbs on populations were announced from Brazil to Lebanon. Amid fears of surging cases, Germany is considering a “mega-lockdown”.
France is introducing tougher restrictions for anyone entering the country from outside the EU.
Elsewhere, China has put about 22 million people on lockdown due to new outbreaks of Covid-19 in the north and northeastern parts of the country.
Meanwhile, a report from Baker Hughes said the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil rose by 12 to 287 this week, rising for an eighth successive weak. The total U.S. rigs count went up by 13 to 373, according to the report.
Concerns over rising Sino-U.S. tensions also weighed on the commodity after the U.S. government blacklisted Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp and ten other companies over alleged military links.