Oil prices saw a slight decline on Friday due to lingering concerns over global demand, which is exerting pressure on prices as the number of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases continues to rise.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $42.19 per barrel at 0645 GMT for a 0.64% decline after closing Thursday at $42.46 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $40.34 a barrel at the same time for a 0.74% drop after ending the previous day at $40.64 per barrel.
Oil prices are still under pressure due to weak global oil demand concerns caused by the COVID-19 outbreak and oversupply concerns with Libya ramping up production.
The rebound in cases in Europe and North America has sparked renewed lockdown measures. Many European countries are tightening lockdowns to curb the spread of the virus, which has now reached over 41.7 million, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.
While the US still tops the number of cases above 8.4 million as of Friday morning, India's cases now total over 7.7 million, and Brazil follows with over 5.3 million cases.
Moreover, increased production from Libya, which is excluded from the current output cut deal of OPEC+, is also intensifying oversupply concerns and driving prices down.
Further price declines, however, were limited with optimism over the long-awaited $2.2 trillion US COVID-19 relief packages that could boost oil demand.
US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday that a deal is close between the Democrats and Republicans.
"They [Republicans] haven't completely signed off on it, but I think we are just about there," Pelosi told reporters on Capitol Hill.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signaled on Thursday that the OPEC+ output cut deal would be extended in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The OPEC+ group, which has curbed output since January 2017 to support prices, is now reducing production by 7.7 million barrels per day (mb/d), down from cuts totaling 9.7 mb/d imposed from May 1 to Aug. 1.
The group will meet between Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 to agree on a policy for 2021 onwards.
By Firdevs Yuksel