Crude Oil Futures Settle Sharply Lower

Crude oil futures ended sharply lower on Friday, weighed down by worries about the outlook for energy demand amid reports of sharp spikes in coronavirus cases in several countries and fresh lockdown restrictions.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s tweet revealing that he and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for the coronavirus further hurt oil prices.

In his tweet early Friday morning, Trump said, “Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”

He had tweeted Thursday night that he and Melania Trump were starting quarantine after Hope Hicks, one of his closest aides, tested positive for the infection.

Rising supply levels and data showing a slower than expected growth in U.S. employment also hurt oil prices.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for November ended down $1.67 or about 4.3% at $37.05 a barrel.

Brent crude futures declined $1.12 or 2.7% to $39.81 a barrel.

WTI crude oil futures contract shed almost 8% for the week.

In France, Minister of Health Olivier VĂ©ran warned on Thursday that Paris may go on maximum virus alert beginning Monday to control the spread of the virus.

In Germany, Spain and several other countries, authorities are focusing on reining in nightlife to curb a marked rebound in coronavirus infections that started in early July.

The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment rose by 661,000 jobs in September after spiking by an upwardly revised 1.489 million jobs in August.

Economists had expected employment to increase by 850,000 jobs compared to the jump of 1.371 million jobs originally reported for the previous month.

Meanwhile, a report from Baker Hughes said the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil rose by 6 to 189 this week after seeing an increase of 4 rigs in the previous week.

The total active U.S. rig count, meanwhile, increased by 5 to 266, according to Baker Hughes.

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