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UPDATE 8-Oil falls near 4% as virus cases mount and U.S. debate looms

Tue, 29th Sep 2020 17:07

* Global coronavirus deaths surpass 1 million -Reuters tally

* Positive coronavirus cases climb in New York City

* Top traders see tepid oil demand recovery

* Trump-Biden debate in focus

* Libya's Sarir oilfield has restarted production

* U.S. crude stocks seen up last week - Reuters poll

* Upcoming - U.S. weekly crude stocks from API (2030 GMT)
(Adds latest prices, start of Libyan production, New York City
coronavirus cases)

By Scott DiSavino

NEW YORK, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Oil prices on Tuesday fell
almost 4% to their lowest in two weeks on worries about the
outlook for fuel demand as Europe and the United States grappled
with a surge in new coronavirus infections.

Stock and commodities investors remained cautious ahead of
the first U.S. presidential debate between Democrat Joe Biden
and Republican Donald Trump later on Tuesday.

The energy market was also waiting for weekly updates on
U.S. crude stockpiles from the American Petroleum Institute
(API) on Tuesday and the Energy Information Administration (EIA)
on Wednesday.

Analysts polled by Reuters forecast U.S. crude inventories
increased 1.6 million barrels last week.

On its second to last day as the front-month, Brent
futures for November delivery fell $1.60, or 3.8%, to $40.83 a
barrel by 2:03 p.m. EDT (1803 GMT), while the more active Brent
contract for December fell 3.6% to $41.33.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell $1.53,
or 3.8%, to $39.07 per barrel.

More than a million people worldwide have died from
COVID-19, according to a Reuters tally, a bleak milestone in a
pandemic that has devastated the global economy and demand for
fuel.

New York City will impose fines on people who refuse to wear
a face covering as the rate of positive coronavirus tests
climbed above 3% for the first time in months, Mayor Bill de
Blasio said on Tuesday.

"The evolving COVID landscape is a massive downside risk for
crude prices," said Craig Erlam, senior analyst at OANDA.

The heads of the world's largest trading houses predicted
tepid oil demand recovery and flat prices in the coming months
and possibly even years.

Clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the
Nagorno-Karabakh region have also kept markets on edge. If the
conflict escalates, it could affect oil and gas exports from
Azerbaijan.

In Libya, meanwhile, the Sarir oilfield has restarted
production, the head of the company that operates it said on
Tuesday, after eastern forces lifted an eight-month blockade on
energy facilities.

(Additional reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin in London,
Sonali Paul in Melbourne and Koustav Samanta in Singapore;
Editing by Susan Fenton, David Goodman and David Gregorio)

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