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Oil edged lower to hover near three-month lows in choppy trade Friday, as continued spikes in coronavirus cases and data showing a surprise build in gas alone inventories stoked concerns about global demand growth.

Benchmark Brent crude futures dipped 0.3 percent to $66.24 a barrel in European trade, while U.S. crude futures were down 0.2 percent at $63.34 a barrel.

Both contracts were on course for weekly losses of more than 6 percent after falling to their lowest levels since May on Thursday.

Both benchmarks have declined for six days in a row on Thursday, the longest losing streak since February 2020, amid increasing restrictions on mobility to tackle the Delta coronavirus variant.

Circulation of the Delta variant in areas of low vaccination is driving transmission of COVID-19, the World Health Organization said in a report.

A stronger dollar amid China’s crackdown on the once high-flying technology firms and rising prospects of tighter monetary measures from the Federal Reserve also weighed on crude oil prices.

A rout in Chinese technology giants deepened after Chinese authorities passed a major data protection law, along the lines of Europe’s Global Data Protection Regulation, making it harder and costlier for tech firms in China to access and use consumer information.

The law, one of the world’s toughest on personal data security, places legal restrictions on how personal data can be collected, used and managed after it comes into effect on November 1.


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