Oil prices plummeted on Thursday as an increase in coronavirus cases and tighter pandemic restrictions around the world suppressed fuel demand expectations and pulled global stocks down.
Brent crude was down 8 cents to $44.26 a barrel by 1218 GMT. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude slipped 28 cents to $41.54 a barrel.
In addition to pressure on prices, the stronger dollar made oil more expensive for other currencies.
The Brent price contango, a market structure in which near-month barrels are cheaper than those in later months, indicating current oversupply, was at its shallowest in more than four months. This means concerns about a glut are easing.
Concerns about the economic impact of the pandemic outweighed optimism about the vaccine’s launch. Pfizer and BioNTech are seeking permission from the US and Europe for their vaccinations next month.
Stock markets in Asia and the United States weakened in uncertainty.
Investors are trying to profit from the last rally before the US Thanksgiving holiday later this month.