Oil Starts 2021 Lower On OPEC, COVID Worries

© Reuters.

By Barani Krishnan

Investing.com –  After ending the worst year in oil trading down 21%, crude prices began 2021 on a weak note as well, hampered by worries about rising production in a world where demand for fuels remained suspect from the protracted coronavirus crisis.

New York-traded , the key indicator for U.S. crude, settled the first trading day of the year down 90 cents, or 1.9%, at $47.62 per barrel. Last year, WTI lost $12.54, or 21%. 

London-traded , the global benchmark for crude, finished Monday’s trade at $51.09, down 71 cents, or 1.4%.

Crude prices have been on the defensive since a seven-week rally from November ended on concerns about a variant of Covid-19 that the authorities said spreads much faster and could lead to overruns in the health system.

Oil was under more pressure in Monday’s early trade after stock prices on Wall Street fell in their 2021 debut and as the OPEC cartel and its allies met to discuss raising production for the second time in a month.

When the 13-member Saudi-led OPEC and its 10 allies led by Russia agreed to hike output by 500,000 barrels per day the first time in December, the market actually lauded the group’s discipline for adding less than the 1 million to 2 million bpd forecast. Crude prices actually rose after that OPEC maneuver — a feat that might not recur.

On Monday, the wider OPEC+ alliance, as it’s known, could not agree on the quantum for the hike, proposed by Russia, and agree to continue discussions.

That saved crude prices almost certainly from a deeper fall.

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