Oil prices slipped more than 8% during the week ending March 19 over rising investor jitters regarding the worrisome side effects of vaccines that continue to disrupt rollout campaigns.
International benchmark Brent crude traded at $63.17 at 1111 GMT on Friday, posting a 9.39% decrease from Monday when trade at 0658 GMT registered at $69.72 per barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded at $60.13 at the same time on Friday, dropping 8.35% relative to $65.61 a barrel on Monday.
Oil prices were mostly steady hovering between $68-$70 a barrel during the week, but they recorded a more than 7% decline on the last day of the week, as rising US crude oil inventories and vaccine uncertainties dashed demand hopes.
The uptrend in crude oil prices on Monday was boosted by China's daily refinery throughput, which increased 15% in the first two months of this year compared to last year.
According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, refinery processing in the country reached 114.24 million tonnes in January and February, indicating an improving economy.
However, further price increases were capped by rising coronavirus cases in some European countries, including Italy, Germany and France where different levels of mitigation measures came into force.
The obscurity about the safety of vaccines had another negative impact on oil prices, raising investor unease of a prolonged oil demand recovery in these European countries.
After recording massive inventory builds in the last two weeks, mainly from the resumption of production following disruptions in the US oil-producing hub of Texas last month, US commercial crude oil inventories rose by 0.5% to 500.8 million barrels for the week ending March 12. This, however, was lower than the market expectation of a rise of 2.7 million barrels, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
By Sibel Morrow