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Oil Down as European COVID-19 Cases Soar



© Reuters.

By Gina Lee

Investing.com – Oil was down Monday morning in Asia as Japan contemplated releasing supply from its reserves. The number of COVID-19 cases in Europe is also on the rise, leading to concerns about fuel demand.

edged down 0.18% to $78.75 by 11:37 PM ET (4:37 AM GMT) and inched down 0.0% to $75.90. Both Brent and WTI futures were below the $70 mark.

The soaring number of cases in Europe sees Austria enter a full lockdown starting Monday.

“Germany is poised to agree on mandatory remote working. In Ireland and the Netherlands, people have already been instructed to work from home where possible. This comes amid the prospect of releases of oil from strategic reserves in China and the U.S.,” ANZ analysts said in a note.

As U.S. President Joe Biden faced growing calls to release supply from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to cool soaring gasoline prices, and requested oil majors, including China and Japan, to join a coordinated release of oil from the SPR.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Saturday implied that he is ready to follow the U.S. request.  “We’re proceeding with consideration as to what we can do legally on the premise that Japan will coordinate with the United States and other countries concerned,” Kishida told the media.

Oil hit its highest level since 2014 in October but has been volatile over the past month, even as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies (OPEC+) stick to its plans for gradual supply increases at its last meeting

Investors are also monitoring reports that a Saudi Arabia-led coalition fighting the Iran-backed Houthi movement in Yemen said it detected indications of imminent danger to navigation and global trade south of the Red Sea.

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