Oil prices declined 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 $41.17 per barrel at 0633 GMT for a 2.14% decrease after closing Friday at $42.07 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $38.94 a barrel at the same time for a 2.28% decrease after ending the previous session at $39.85 per barrel.
Oil prices are still under pressure due to weak global oil demand 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 43 million, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.
While the US, the world's largest oil-consuming country, still tops the number of cases above 8.6 million as of Monday morning, India's cases now total over 7.9 million, and Brazil follows with over 5.3 million cases.
Increased production from Libya, which is excluded from the current output cut deal of OPEC+, is also driving prices down due to oversupply concerns.
The country, which is now producing around 500,000 barrels per day (b/d), expects total oil production to reach 800,000 b/d within two weeks and 1 million barrels per day (mb/d) within four weeks.
Moreover, as an indicator of short-term production in the country, the number of US oil rigs increased by 6 to 211 last week compared to the previous week. This signals greater output while raising worries over a supply glut.
Further price declines, however, were limited with optimism over OPEC+ oil production cut agreement.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signalled on Thursday that the OPEC+ output cut deal could 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 b/d, down from cuts totaling 9.7 million b/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