Oil prices decreased on Monday due to demand concerns after millions of Christians celebrated the Easter holiday under strict coronavirus measures while at the same time market reactions are confused over OPEC+’s output increase decision last week.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $63.94 per barrel at 0714 GMT for a 1.41% decrease after closing Friday at $64.86 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $60.69 per barrel at the same time for a 1.23% fall after it ended the previous session at $61.45 a barrel.
The downward price trend is mainly driven by demand concerns as millions of Christians across Europe celebrated the Easter holiday under lockdowns and mitigation measures as the third wave of coronavirus variants continues to infect people on the continent.
Italy was the worst-hit European country where the pandemic first spread across Europe. The country is facing a third wave of infections and it entered a three-day nationwide coronavirus lockdown on Saturday to prevent Easter travel and gatherings.
France also re-imposed a semi-lockdown during Easter and allowed limited gatherings within limited distances.
The vaccination rollouts have also been delayed after concerns arose about the safety of AstraZeneca’s shots.
Amid reports of blood clotting cases after inoculation, Germany restricted the use of the vaccine to only people below the age of 60 while the Netherlands banned it temporarily.
The oil market reaction was indecisive after the decision of OPEC+ countries to increase production after May.
While a production increase was not in line with the market expectations amid still-low oil demand caused by rising infections and lockdowns, OPEC leaders were cautiously optimistic.
Prices started rising soon after the meeting and some experts say that markets are focused on the positive messages and not the decision itself.
By Sibel Morrow