As global covid cases are continously rising and stoked concerns about lacklustre demand and as drawn-out vote counting in the United states voting for president kept markets on the edge, oil dropped below $40 a barrel on Friday.
Record cases of coronavirus have been recorded in France, intensifying concerns that additional lockdowns in Europe could weigh on demand.
In the race, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden took the lead in Georgia and Pennsylvania on Friday over President Donald Trump, edging closer to winning the White House as a number of states continue to count votes.
Biden has a 253 to 214 lead in the state-by – state Electoral College vote that decides the winner, according to Edison Polling, three days after polls closed. Winning the 20 electoral votes from Pennsylvania will place the former vice president above the 270 he needs to win the presidency.
By 2:07 p.m., Brent crude dropped $1.46, or 3.6 percent, to $39.47. EST (GMT 1907). West Texas Intermediate (WTI) dropped $1.58 to $37.21 a barrel, or 4.1 per cent.
Still, Brent was heading for a weekly increase of 5 percent, and on the week, United states crude was up 4 percent.
The market was also weighed down by the diminishing prospects of a broad United states stimulus package.
On Thursday, Italy reported its highest daily number of infections with Covid-19. On Friday, after reporting a record 58,046 on Thursday, health ministry data showed a record 60,486 new confirmed coronavirus cases.
US: The Electoral College
A majority of the popular vote would not elect the United states president. The nominee who receives the vote of 538 electors, known as the Electoral College, becomes the next president under the Constitution. Trump lost the popular national vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016, but won 304 of her 227 electoral votes.
The candidate who wins the popular vote in each state usually receives the electors of that state. This year, on Dec. 14, the electors meet to cast votes.
But some researchers have outlined a scenario in which two separate election results are submitted by the governor and the legislature in a closely contested state. Democratic governors and Republican-controlled legislatures are all present in the swing states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and North Carolina.