Crude oil prices were down on Friday afternoon after prices were affected by a range of concerns related to demand fluctuations on the international market amid hopes of a post-covid economic rebound.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $44.30 at 1126 GMT on Friday, posting a 1.9% drop from Monday at 0608 GMT when it traded at $45.16 per barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate traded at $42.30 at the same time on Friday relative to $42.37 a barrel on Monday.
Oil markets started the week on a positive note after Chinese state-owned oil companies tentatively booked tankers for August and September to carry at least 20 million barrels of US crude.
However, the rising coronavirus cases all around the world and concerns about a second wave continued casting doubts over a recovery in oil demand and exerted downward pressure on oil prices.
However, global rating agency Moody’s said that trade activity would only gradually pick up, driven by a slow rebound in consumer demand through the rest of 2020.
The agency said the risk of widespread resurgence in coronavirus infections has increased, spawning concerns over renewed lockdowns and disruptions to the supply chain.
-Escalating US-China tension
Oil prices eased on Wednesday after stagnant US economic stimulus talks, and with US President Donald Trump postponing US-China trade talks.
Trump on Tuesday said he postponed trade negotiations with China, commenting that he does not want to talk to China “right now.”
Scheduled talks between representatives from the US and China to discuss the implementation of the so-called Phase 1 trade pact on Saturday were canceled.
Escalating US-China tension contributed to concerns over the risk of low oil demand from the world's two largest economies and oil consumers, and put negative pressure on prices.
The growing uncertainty over the Washington stalemate in talks on a recovery package for the pandemic's fallout also pushed prices downward.
On Thursday, prices took a further downward hit, as major oil producers warned against a prolonged economic recovery and stifled demand while US oil stocks decreased less than market expectations.
During the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) meeting in July, OPEC and non-OPEC oil-producing nations, known as OPEC+, warned against "the fragility of the market and large uncertainties, particularly associated with oil demand."
According to data released by the country's Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday, US commercial crude oil inventories fell less than the market expectation. Stocks fell by 1.6 million barrels, or 0.3%, to 512.5 million barrels for the week ending Aug. 14 compared to the forecast of a 2.7 million barrel decrease.
By Sibel Morrow