Oil prices were down on Monday as the coronavirus pandemic continues to threaten the oil demand recovery, with India recording the highest-ever surge in cases, making the country the second worst hit after the US.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $62.62 per barrel at 0712 GMT for a 0.52% decrease after closing Friday at $62.95 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $58.98 per barrel at the same time for a 0.57% fall after it ended the previous session at $59.32 a barrel.
Lingering concerns over the oil demand recovery continue curbing oil prices after India confirmed a new record high of nearly 169,000 single-day cases on Monday, surpassing Brazil to become the second most-affected country globally after the US.
India's total cases have reached 13.52 million, according to the country’s Health Ministry.
The country’s death toll stands at 170,179, including 904 new fatalities as of Monday morning.
The price declines came despite positive remarks from the US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, saying the country’s economy is about to “start growing more quickly” even if COVID-19 remains a risk.
"What we're seeing now is really an economy that seems to be much at an inflection point," Powell said during an interview on CBS News' "60 Minutes".
Powell said widespread vaccination and strong financial support would help provided there is not another COVID-19 wave.
By Sibel Morrow