Oil falls again on worries about a recovery in demand by Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The moon rises behind the storage tanks of a local oil refinery in Omsk, Russia, June 5, 2020. REUTERS / Alexey Malgavko

TOKYO (Reuters) – Oil prices continued to lose ground Tuesday as concerns over the fragile state of the global recovery in demand for crude oil and fuel were heightened by data showing China’s oil imports declined in May.

fell 11 cents, or 0.2%, to $ 71.38 a barrel by 0151 GMT after falling 0.6% overnight. US oil fell 13 cents, or 0.2%, to $ 69.10 a barrel after falling 0.6% in the previous session.

“Chinese oil imports at a 5-month low … would more likely confirm the weakness of the Asian market,” said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizhuo Securities.

China’s crude oil imports declined 14.6% in May, compared to high levels a year earlier, with daily arrivals at their lowest this year as refinery maintenance limited demand for oil purchases.

Crude oil prices have risen in recent weeks, with Brent up nearly 40% this year and WTI gaining more as demand is expected to return as some countries succeed in vaccinating the population against COVID-19.

The reluctance to supply by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies has also helped prop up prices.

But large oil importers like India have seen waves of infection that continue to threaten the expected recovery in global demand in the second half of this year.

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