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Oil prices slip as coronavirus cases surge

Oil prices edged lower on Friday as concerns about the surge in coronavirus cases sapping fuel demand while major crude-producing nations ready increases in output.

The United States reported at least 75,000 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, a daily record. Spain and Australia reported their steepest daily jumps in more than two months, while cases continued to soar in India and Brazil.

Fuel demand has broadly recovered from a 30% drop in April after nations worldwide restricted movements and businesses shuttered. Consumption remains below pre-pandemic levels, however, and fuel purchases are falling again as infections rise.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 fell 23 cents a barrel to settle at $43.14 per barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 fell 16 cents to $40.59. Both contracts were little changed from a week earlier.

Lawmakers in the United States and the European Union are set to debate more stimulus over the coming days.

Benchmark crude fell 1% on Thursday after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, agreed to trim record supply cuts of 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2 million bpd, starting in August.

U.S. energy firms cut the number of oil and natural gas rigs operating to a record low for an 11th week in a row, according to data from energy services firm Baker Hughes Co (BKR.N).

Firms have slowed reductions as some consider returning to the well pad with crude prices up from historic lows. Energy firms could start adding rigs later this year if prices remain stable at higher levels.

“U.S. rig activity will bottom near 250 rigs or roughly today’s levels,” analysts at Raymond James said. They expect the rig count to average 270 in the second half of 2020.

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About AISU

Arab Iron and Steel Union ( AISU ) was established in Algeria in 1971 as the first Arab union of Arab countries to be established under the umbrella of the Council of Economic Unity in the League of Arab States.

AISU is a non-governmental organization of a private nature, not of a political or commercial nature.

AISU works in the field of preparing studies, organizing courses and holding periodic conferences for the prosperity of the Arab iron and steel industry. The union includes a wide range of companies with multiple activities related to the iron and steel industry.

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28 Board of Directors

17 Country

300.000 Employees

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