Brent crude futures LCOc1 shed 17 cents, or 0.4%, to $44.17 a barrel by 0345 GMT, after gaining 1.4% on the previous day. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1 declined 29 cents, or 0.7%, to $41.53 a barrel, having risen nearly 1% on Wednesday.
“The spread of coronavirus infection and fresh restrictions in the United States and other parts of the world hit market sentiment as it would hamper fuel demand,” said Kazuhiko Saito, chief analyst at Fujitomi Co.
“Investors are also booking profits from the recent rally before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday later this month,” he said.
The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 surpassed a grim new milestone of 250,000 lives lost on Wednesday, as New York City’s public school system, the nation’s largest, called a halt to in-classroom instruction, citing a jump in coronavirus infection rates.
Daily coronavirus cases in Tokyo and South Korea hit fresh highs, as pollution-cloaked New Delhi struggled with rising cases and Australia reported a highly contagious virus strain which forced a state-wide lockdown.
OPEC+, comprising the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other producers, is due to discuss policy at a full ministerial meeting to be held on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.
Members of OPEC+ are leaning towards delaying the current plan to boost output in January by 2 million barrels per day (bpd), sources have said.