Brent crude oil prices were slightly down on Thursday as the rising number of cases in worldwide coronavirus pandemic crisis keeps downward pressure on oil prices.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $44.27 per barrel at 0631GMT for a 0.06% decrease after closing Wednesday at $45.31 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate was at $42.50 per barrel at the same time, down 0.14% after ending the previous session at $42.56 a barrel.
COVID-19 continues to spread all over the world, exerting pressure on prices as investors expect a decline in demand.
The number of COVID-19 cases worldwide is now over 20 million, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.
As the US leads the number of cases with more than 5 million as of Thursday morning, Brazil has over 3 million, and India follows with more than 2.2 million cases.
Also, for the first time in 102 days, New Zealand confirmed 14 local cases of the virus.
A more than expected fall in the US commercial crude oil inventories capped the losses as it feeds hopes for an increased oil demand in the world’s largest economy.
According to data released by the country's Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday, commercial crude oil inventories in the US fell by 4.5 million barrels, or 0.9%, to 514.1 million barrels for the week ending August 7. The market expectation was a decrease of 2.9 million barrels.
Meanwhile, global oil demand in 2020 is estimated to be 9.09%, 9.06 million bpd, lower than 2019 to average 90.63 million bpd this year, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said in its report on Wednesday
However, it is expected to increase by 7 million bpd, or 7.72%, next year to average 97.63 million bpd in 2021.
By Sibel Morrow