Oil Falls on Increased COVID cases

Oil prices fell for a second day on Wednesday on concerns that soaring COVID-19 cases in India will drive down fuel demand in the world’s third biggest oil importer.

Brent crude futures for June fell 78 cents, or 1.1%, to $65.79 U.S. per barrel, after dropping 48 cents on Tuesday.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures for June fell 77 cents, or 1.3%, to $61.86 a barrel. The May contract expired on Tuesday down 1.5% at $62.44.

India, also the world’s third-largest oil user, on Tuesday reported its worst daily death toll from the virus and is facing an oxygen supply crisis to treat patients. Large parts of the country are now under lockdown due to a huge second wave of the pandemic.

Further weighing on the market, data from the American Petroleum Institute industry group showed U.S. crude oil and distillate stocks rose in the week ended April 16, according to two market sources, compared with analysts’ forecasts for declines in crude and distillate inventories.

Crude stocks rose by 436,000 barrels, API reported, according to the sources. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected a three-million-bbl drawdown in crude stocks.

Distillate stocks, which include diesel, heating oil and jet fuel, rose by 655,000 barrels, compared with analysts’ forecasts for a one-million-barrel decline.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its inventory data for last week later on Wednesday.