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Oil prices fell for a second day running on Tuesday, as the rapid spread of the Delta coronavirus variant in parts of the world fueled worries about slower fuel demand growth. Speculation ahead of an OPEC meeting this week also kept investors on edge.

Brent crude futures for September delivery dipped 0.2 percent to $73.96 per barrel, while WTI crude futures for August settlement were down 0.4 percent at $72.62 a barrel.

Outbreaks of the highly contagious COVID-19 variant Delta raised concerns that the economic recovery will be slow.

In Australia, the cities of Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Darwin have all been put into lockdown as the outbreak spreads.

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace and half a dozen U.K. military commanders are self-isolating after the head of Britain’s Armed forces tested positive for the coronavirus.

Spain and Portugal announced restrictions on the entry of unvaccinated British citizens ahead of the peak summer vacation period.

Russia’s Saint Petersburg posted record Covid-19 deaths on Monday. South Africa has entered at least two weeks of strict lockdown.

Turkey has halted flights and all direct travel from Bangladesh, Brazil, South Africa, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

The strain, now in 85 countries, is the most contagious of any COVID-19 variant so far identified, according to the World Health Organization.

The group of producers, known as OPEC+, will hold technical meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday to review the oil market, ahead of the meeting of the OPEC and its allies, due Thursday. The production quota for August is expected to be decided in this meeting.


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