Crude oil prices were headed lower on Wednesday for a second consecutive session as concerns persist about the global economic outlook and its impact on demand.
“The oil market is struggling to interpret the continuous rise of Covid-19 infections and the fact that total cases exceeded one million this week,” wrote Paola Rodriguez-Masiu, senior oil market analyst at Rystad Energy in a note.
The global tally for confirmed cases of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 climbed to 33.6 million on Wednesday, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University, while the death toll rose to 1.008 million. The U.S. has the highest case tally at 7.2 million, and highest death toll at 205,99.
“It is a scary number and although we are now used to worsening pandemic news, such a milestone is not one to brush off easily,” the analyst said of the breach of a million deaths globally this week.
West Texas Intermediate crude for November delivery were down 15 cents, or 0.4%, at $39.14 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after declining 3.2% on Tuesday.
Front-month November Brent traded 26 cents, or 0.6%, lower at $41.30 a barrel, following a 3.3% drop in the previous session. The contract expires at the end of Wednesday’s trade.
Commodity experts were also parsing inventory data from the American Petroleum Institute reported late Tuesday that showed that U.S. crude supplies fell by 831,000 barrels for the week ended Sept. 25, according to sources.
The API data also reportedly showed gasoline stockpiles climbed by 1.6 million barrels, while distillate inventories fell by 3.4 million barrels. Crude stocks at the Cushing, Okla., storage hub, meanwhile, added 1.6 million barrels for the week, sources said.
Inventory data from the Energy Information Administration will be released Wednesday, and is expected to show crude inventories up by 1.9 million barrels last week, according to analysts polled by S&P Global Platts. They also forecast supply declines of 1.3 million barrels for gasoline and 1.7 million barrels in distillates.