Oil prices fell on Thursday as a new round of coronavirus restrictions in Europe revived worries about demand, even as tug boats struggled to move a stranded container ship blocking crude oil carriers in the Suez Canal.
Brent crude slid more than 2 per cent, to $61.64 a barrel at 7.57 pm (IST). US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude dropped by $1.86, or 3 per cent, to $59.32 a barrel as of 7.10 pm.
Both contracts jumped about 6 per cent on Wednesday after a ship ran aground in the Suez Canal, one of the world’s most important oil shipping routes.
The Suez Canal Authority said on Thursday it had suspended traffic temporarily while eight tugs work to free the vessel.
The impact of the Suez Canal blockade on oil prices is also limited as the destination of most oil tankers is Europe, but European demand is currently weak due to a new round of lockdowns. A strong dollar also weighed on oil prices. It hit a new four-month high against the euro as the US pandemic response continued to outpace Europe’s.