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Oil prices continue to slide as Delta infection rates raise recovery concerns

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FILE - In this June 28, 2021, file photo, Saudi Aramco engineers and journalists look at the Hawiyah Natural Gas Liquids Recovery Plant, which is designed to process 4.0 billion standard cubic feet per day of sweet gas, a natural gas that does not contain significant amounts of hydrogen sulfide, in Hawiyah, in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. Aramco, announced Sunday, Aug. 8, 2021, a net income of around $47 billion for the first half of the year, double what it earned in the same period last year when the coronavirus grounded travel and pummeled global demand for oil. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)
Oil prices have been particularly volatile over the last 16 months, as coronavirus lockdowns hit demand around the world. Photo: Amir Nabi/AP

Oil prices pulled back further on Monday in London, extending last week's losses as concerns rose off the back of new coronavirus crackdowns in Asia and a rising US dollar.

Brent crude futures (BZ=F) headed lower by $2.72, or 3.9%, to $67.98 (£48.95) a barrel by 10.45am in London, after having slumped 6% last week, their biggest weekly loss in four months. By the closing bell they had settled at around 2.6% lower.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures (CL=F) fell $2.82, or 4.3%, to $65.46 a barrel, after having slumped nearly 7% last week in their steepest weekly decline in nine months. They were down 2.8% by the end of the session.

Oil prices have been particularly volatile over the last 16 months, as coronavirus lockdowns hit demand around the world. Recent jitters have been tied to fresh waves of the Delta variant of the virus as countries ramp up vaccination efforts.

Meanwhile, European markets were mixed as the UK relaxed travel restrictions and summer holiday bookings surged.

The FTSE 100 (^FTSE) was 0.4% lower at the open before an end of day rally which brought it 0.2% up by the closing bell. The DAX (^GDAXI) was down 0.1% and France's CAC (^FCHI) closed almost flat.

Those who are fully vaccinated can now visit France from the UK without the prospect of a quarantine period when they return home. France was moved from the amber-plus travel list, to the amber list. Unvaccinated travellers will still have to isolate for 10 days on return.

Meanwhile, Mexico was moved onto the red list.

Read more: Will hybrid working lead to a generational divide in the office? 

It comes as the UK recorded 27,429 new COVID cases on Sunday, as well as 39 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.

News was also confirmed this morning that McColl's retail group is exploring a capital raise to upgrade its Morrisons Daily stores in the UK, following reports in the press over the weekend. Sky News reported on Sunday that McColls is planning to raise £30m to expand its partnership with the chain and had approached institutional investors.

McColl's said in a statement: "No final decisions have been made on whether to proceed with a capital raise or with regards to the timing or size of any such capital raise."

US stocks were mixed at the final bell in London, having made muted moves. The S&P 500 (^GSPC) was down 0.1%. The Dow (^DJI) moved 0.2% lower and the Nasdaq (^IXIC) was up 0.1%.

US stocks had seen a mixed end to the week on Friday despite positive NFP data.

"The data has confirmed now that the US economy is standing on solid footing and there is nothing that is going to derail the robust recovery which was put in motion with the help of excessively loose monetary policy," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade.

Markets will be watching for tapering action from the Federal Reserve in months to come as the US economy emerges from the dark days of coronavirus.

Read more: Inside private equity's race to buy up Britain

Overnight in Asia, the Hang Seng (^HSI) and the SSE Composite (000001.SS) closed 0.6% and 1% higher respectively. The Nikkei (^N225) also rose 0.3%.

Regulatory jitters about a tech and education crackdown from Beijing have eased in recent trading sessions after a selloff.

Despite the positive sentiment, the Financial Times reported this morning that Beijing's tech tycoons had haemorrhaged $87bn, dropping 16% collectively, as a result fo the crackdown. Tencent and Pinduodo both took a hammering.

Watch: What is inflation and why is it important?

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