Oil prices slipped about 1% on Monday over concerns about spreading COVID-19 variants derailing the global economic recovery that has brought fuel demand to near pre-pandemic levels.
Brent crude for September fell 63 cents, or 0.8%, to $74.92 a barrel by 1:55 p.m. EDT (1755 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for August was at $73.78 a barrel, down 78 cents, or 1.1%.
Both benchmarks fell about 1% last week, stalling out a rally that had brought both U.S. crude and Brent to levels not seen since October 2018.
Tokyo reimposed lockdowns due to concerns over coronavirus infections, less than two weeks before the city hosts the Summer Olympic Games.
“It has raised hackles in the market about demand recovery again,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital in New York. “Asia is obviously essential. It’s a swing demand center, and this is a huge setback.”
The spread of new variants and unequal access to vaccines threaten the global economic recovery, finance chiefs of the G20 large economies said over the weekend. The remarks weighed on the oil demand outlook.
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