Oil prices drop amid demand concerns

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NEW YORK, July 15 (Xinhua) -- Oil prices slipped on Thursday, adding to the losses they had suffered in the prior session, as demand concerns returned to the market.

The West Texas Intermediate for August delivery fell 1.48 U.S. dollars, or 2 percent, to settle at 71.65 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for September delivery decreased 1.29 dollars, or 1.7 percent, to close at 73.47 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.

On Wednesday, the U.S. crude benchmark and Brent dropped 2.8 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively.

The above moves came as traders worried that a spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19 would lead to further economic restrictions, subduing fuel demand.

Meanwhile, oil participants cautiously looked to talks between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, two key OPEC members, on crude production levels. Earlier this month, their dispute over oil production had prevented OPEC+ from agreeing to step up oil production.

Elsewhere, mixed U.S. inventory data also weighed on the market.

U.S. crude oil inventories decreased by 7.9 million barrels during the week ending July 9, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a report on Wednesday. Analysts surveyed by S&P Global Platts had anticipated the EIA publications to show a fall of 4.9 million barrels in U.S. crude supplies.

According to the EIA report, total motor gasoline inventories increased by 1.0 million barrels last week and distillate fuel inventories increased by 3.7 million barrels. Enditem

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