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Oil Prices Slip After Recent Strong Gains


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Oil prices were moving lower on Monday, after having jumped around 8 percent last week on optimism about improved demand from China and expectations that the Federal Reserve may ease its aggressive rate hikes.

Benchmark Brent crude futures declined 0.6 percent to $84.81 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 0.8 percent at $79.44 amid thin trading due to a public holiday in the United States.

The downturn comes amid profit taking and concerns that rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in China, the world’s top crude importer, ahead of the Lunar New year holiday might create hurdles in ways of returning to normalcy.

The World Health Organization has appealed to China to keep releasing information about its wave of COVID infections after the government announced nearly 60,000 deaths since early December.

The announcement on Saturday was the first official death toll since the ruling Communist Party abruptly dropped anti-virus restrictions in December.

Looking ahead, investors await monthly reports from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and the International Energy Agency this week for clarity on global demand and supply outlook.

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