Oil prices rose on Friday but were on track for their biggest weekly loss since October on worries about the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus in top consumers U.S. and China. Rising tensions in the Middle East provided a floor under the market.
Benchmark Brent crude futures rose 0.6 percent to $71.69 per barrel, but were down nearly 6 percent for the week. Similarly, U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up half a percent at $69.44 and were on track for a 6 percent weekly loss.
China has imposed new restrictions on travel in a bid to curb the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
Japan’s cumulative total of coronavirus cases has topped 1 million as the highly contagious delta variant continues to spread in many parts of the country.
South Korea has extended its social distancing curbs by two weeks across most part of the country.
From Indonesia and Malaysia to Thailand and Bangladesh, countries across Asia have detected Delta in their communities.
In the United States, daily new COVID-19 cases have climbed to a six-month high, with more than 100,000 infections reported nationwide.
At least 46 cities have advised against travelling, and authorities have suspended flights and stopped public transport, raising concerns about fuel demand.