Brent crude futures were down 37 cents, or 0.9%, at US$42.77 a barrel as of 0042 GMT, and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 34 cents, or 0.8%, to $40.31 a barrel. Both benchmarks rose more than 2% on Thursday. SEOUL: Crude prices fell on Friday as the resurgence of the coronavirus globally and in the United States, the world's largest oil consumer, dimmed the prospects of fuel demand recovery. Brent crude futures were down 37 cents, or 0.9%, at US$42.77 a barrel as of 0042 GMT, and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 34 cents, or 0.8%, to $40.31 a barrel. Both benchmarks rose more than 2% on Thursday, buoyed by stronger-than-expected U.S. jobs data and a fall in U.S. crude inventories. For the week, Brent is up 4.3% and WTI is up 5.6%. Increases in the daily cases of the coronavirus, however, globally and in the United States pressured prices. New U.S. COVID-19 cases rose by more than 50,000 on Thursday, setting a record for a third consecutive day, according to a Reuters tally. "The market has become increasingly confident that easing restrictions on travel and business would boost demand for crude oil, but the pandemic's progress threatens to derail this recovery," ANZ Research said in a note. "The recovery in gasoline demand will plateau until the U.S. economy improves," it said. Gasoline demand will be closely watched as the United States heads into its July 4 holiday weekend as many Americans are expected to hit the road. U.S. gasoline stocks rose by 1.2 million barrels in the week to June 26, according to data from the Energy Information Administration released on Wednesday. - Reuters Earlier report: Oil up more than 2 pct US jobs data, virus fears cap gains NEW YORK: Oil futures gained more than 2% on Thursday, supported by a drop in U.S. unemployment and a drawdown in crude inventories, but a resurgence in U.S. coronavirus infections fanned concerns that economic activity will weaken in coming weeks. New COVID-19 cases in the United States rose by nearly 50,000 on Wednesday, the biggest one-day increase since the start of the pandemic. Numerous states are advising citizens to restrict movements and closing businesses and restaurants again, which is expected to hamper job growth. Brent crude futures settled at $43.14 a barrel, rising $1.11, or 2.6%. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures settled at $40.65 a barrel, up 83 cents, or 2.1%. "At this time, the economic data seems to be outpacing the COVID-19 infections and it seems the growth is happening despite this uptick in cases," said Phil Flynn, senior analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. U.S. non-farm payrolls increased by 4.8 million in June, beating expectations, even as permanent job losses rose. Traders said the data could lessen the desire in Washington for more federal support for the economy. "The jobs report was good, but the flip side of that was that it was so good that it might inhibit a stimulus program," said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho. U.S. energy firms cut the number of operating oil and natural gas rigs to a record low for a ninth straight week, according to Baker Hughes Co. [RIG/U] U.S. crude inventories fell 7.2 million barrels from a record high last week, more than expected, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said. [EIA/S] Gasoline stockpiles were higher, however, and the spike in cases in heavily populated U.S. Sun Belt states, among the country's biggest consumers of gasoline, could hit fuel demand headed into the July 4 holiday weekend, often a busy period for travel. - reuters
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