Oil prices icked up on Thursday, but struggled to fully recover from previous session losses as high U.S. gasoline stocks signaled a worsening demand outlook as coronavirus cases increased.
Brent crude LCOc1 futures were up 54 cents at $42.27 a barrel at 1349 GMT and West Texas Intermiate (WTI) crude CLc1 futures gained 56 cents to $40.59.
Both contracts shed more than 3% on Wednesday in their steepest daily falls in three weeks.
US gasoline stocks USOILG = ECI increased by 1.9 million barrels in the week of October 16, compared to an expectation of a 1.8 million barrel decrease.
Supply wise, overall product supplied averaged 18.3 million barrels per day (bpd) in the four weeks to Oct. 16, meaning down 13% from the same period a year earlier.
In addition to the new daily numbers of COVID-19 infections in several US states and Europe, further coronavirus lockdowns, China’s pressure on travel to abroad, and the lack of stimulus package are negatively impacting fuel demand.
In addition to supply concerns, Libya’s oil exports increase rapidly in October. Libyan production increased by about 500,000 barrels a day, and the Tripoli government expects that to double by the end of the year.