Oil prices edged down on Thursday amid lingering demand concerns, as hopes of an economic recovery boosted by massive vaccination campaigns were suspended after confused results on vaccine effectiveness.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $ 56.02 a barrel at 06 GMT for a rise of 0.07% after closing Wednesday at $ 56.06 a barrel.
The US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded at $ 52.90 per barrel at the same time for a 0.02% increase after ending the previous session at $ 52.91 per barrel.
Oil prices saw a limited decline after countries reported different rates on the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Sinovac Biotech in China.
Several countries, including Indonesia, Turkey and Singapore, have placed orders for the vaccine.
While Brazil said the Chinese CoronaVac vaccine has an effectiveness rate of just over 50%, results in Turkey showed the vaccine to be 91.25% effective.
Adding to the downward trend in oil prices, the Federal Reserve’s beige book that assesses economic conditions dashed hopes raised by the arrival of vaccines and increased uncertainties.
“While the prospect of COVID-19 vaccines has bolstered business optimism for 2021 growth, this has been tempered by concern over the recent resurgence of the virus and its implications for near-term business conditions,” says The report.
However, a sharp drop in US crude oil inventories last week capped further price declines.
Commercial crude oil inventories in the United States fell 3.2 million barrels last week, compared to market forecast of a 2.7 million barrels draw.
Investors are now focused on expectations of greater economic support in the US coronavirus relief program later on Thursday, when President-elect Joe Biden is expected to announce the details of his pledge to give “trillions of dollars” afterwards. he took office on January 20.
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