Oil prices nudged higher on Monday on tighter supplies from major producers, but a record rise in global coronavirus cases raised concerns a recovery in fuel demand could stall, checking gains.
Brent crude rose 8 cents, or 0.2%, to $42.22 a barrel, while U.S. crude was at $39.93 a barrel, up 10 cents, or 0.3%.
Both contracts rose about 9% last week and Brent crude futures have flipped into backwardation, where oil for immediate delivery costs more than supply later, usually an indication of tightening supply.
In the United States and Canada, the number of operating oil and natural gas rigs fell to a record low last week even as higher oil prices prompt some producers to start drilling again.
The OPEC+ group, consisting of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies including Russia, has yet to decide whether to extend a record supply cut of 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) for a fourth month in August.
However, Iraq and Kazakhstan pledged to comply better with oil production cuts during an OPEC+ panel on Thursday.
Oil prices have also been supported by a recovery in fuel demand globally following a collapse in April-May during coronavirus shutdowns as countries across the world resume economic activities.
Still, the World Health Organization reported a record jump in global coronavirus cases on Sunday, with the biggest increase seen in north and south America.
Spikes in coronavirus infections in parts of the world such as Beijing and Australia’s second-most populous state Victoria have prompted authorities to reimpose movement restrictions to curb the spread.