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Oil Prices Subdued On China COVID Concerns


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Oil prices slipped in cautious trade on Friday, as a surge of COVID-19 cases in China exacerbated fears of a global recession and offset concerns over tight supplies because of the escalating Ukraine conflict.

Benchmark Brent crude futures slipped 0.1 percent to $83.34 a barrel, while WTI crude futures were down 0.2 percent at $78.22.

Brent futures were on track to gain more than 7 percent in 2022 while U.S. crude futures were poised to rise nearly 4 percent during the year.

Investors fretted about the demand outlook following reports that a dangerous new COVID variant is spreading in China.

U.S. health officials and the World Health Organization (WHO) have called on China to share more information on the spread of COVID in the country, saying the lack of transparency could delay the identification of new COVID variants that pose a threat to public health.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the global body remains concerned over the evolving situation in China due to the unavailability of an apt amount of information from the country about the outbreak.

An addition in oil inventory data against the consensus of a drawdown also weighed on oil prices.

Data released by U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday showed crude inventories in the U.S. rose by 718,000 barrels last week compared with forecasts for a drop of 1.5 million barrels.

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