Oil prices stabilized at low levels on Friday as demand concerns over trade restrictions on the novel coronavirus in New York overshadowed progress towards vaccination programs.
Brent futures settled down 28 cents, or 0.6% at $49.97 a barrel. The contract rose above $51 a barrel on Thursday to an early-March high.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell 21 cents, or 0.5%, to $46.57, having risen almost 3% in the previous session.
During the week, Brent rose 1.5% and WTI remained below 1%. This was the sixth consecutive week of earnings for the first time since June.
In this period of increasing cases, New York City restaurants were banned from service of eating indoors as of Monday.
Promising vaccine trials have helped lift some gloom over record increases in the number of coronavirus infections and deaths around the world
England started vaccinations this week. 170,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine are expected to be in New York by Sunday or Monday, and the United States will likely begin vaccinations within the next week. Canada approved on Wednesday their first vaccines to be started within next week.
The long-awaited roll-out of vaccination programs fed increased US oil inventories. A huge jump in US crude inventories last week reminded that the abundance of supply continues, but this week the bulls in the stock market did not care much about the excess supply.
US energy companies have increased the number of oil and gas rigs in this week by the most since January. Even though there was plenty of supply signals on Friday, producers continued to return to the wells.