Oil prices lost more than 1% during the week ending Nov. 26 due to oversupplied market projections for early next year and economic slowdown concerns fueled by the new coronavirus variant.
International benchmark Brent crude traded at $77.52 per barrel at 1203 GMT on Friday, posting a 1.3% loss from the Monday session that opened at $78.58 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) registered at $73.58 per barrel at the same time on Friday, decreasing 2.9% relative to the opening price of $75.79 a barrel on Monday.
Declining to a seven-week low, markets started the week on a negative note on Monday after Japan said it was considering the release of oil from its emergency reserves to curb surging oil prices.
The move came after an unprecedented request from US President Joe Biden last week who called on major oil-consuming countries, including India, Japan and South Korea to tap into their Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR).
Dampening demand concerns put further pressure on prices when some European countries reintroduced tight pandemic measures as Covid-19 cases surged to historic highs.
The downtrend in prices continued on Tuesday as Biden announced his intention of releasing crude oil from his country’s emergency stocks to prevent further energy price increases.
The US Department of Energy will release 50 million barrels of oil from the SPR, the largest petroleum stockpile in the world used for emergencies.
Prices recorded a limited increase mid-week as investors saw only a marginal impact from the US-led move to release oil from strategic reserves to reduce fuel prices.
Adding to market uncertainties, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (OPEC+) will meet on Dec. 2 to discuss their production plans for early next year.
A negative sentiment hit markets at the end of the week, with investors focused on the OPEC+ response to the US-led initiative to draw down reserves, causing oversupplied market projections for early next year.
Meanwhile, reports on the emergence of new COVID-19 variants, specifically the highly mutated variant from South Africa, are also putting pressure on oil prices, fueling concerns that the new variant may negatively affect the global economic recovery.
By Ebru Sengul Cevrioglu