Oil prices decreased on Friday as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC oil-producing countries, known as OPEC+, delayed their meeting on production quota decisions after July.

International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $75.71 per barrel at 0709 GMT for a 0.17% decrease after closing Thursday at $75.84 a barrel.

American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $75.15 per barrel at the same time for a 0.10% drop after it ended the previous session at $75.23 a barrel.

The meeting of the Saudi-led OPEC bloc of 13 countries and the Russian-led non-OPEC group of 10 participants came amid concerns over recent outbreaks of the highly contagious COVID-19 variant Delta and the re-emergence of travel restrictions.

Oil prices increased on Thursday over positive sentiments that OPEC+ will add back 400,000 barrels per day each month between August and December 2021.

However, the group failed to reach a consensus at Thursday’s meeting and decided to adjourn and continue the meeting on Friday.

The group had agreed to gradually return 2.1 million barrels per day (bpd) of supply to the market during May through July, after which the curbs still in place would stand at 5.8 million bpd.

Meanwhile, the most recently discovered Delta variant of the novel coronavirus continues to affect oil markets, raising concerns over a slower demand recovery.

The variant is listed by the World Health Organization as a Variant of Concern, as global fears mount on the impact it may have on efforts to overcome the pandemic.

Though estimated to account for 90% of virus-related cases in the UK and India, where it first appeared, scientists are unable to determine exactly how many cases of the variant there are, since they cannot extract the DNA sequence of every COVID-19 case worldwide.

A 10-week decline in COVID-19 cases in Europe ended last week and was followed by a 10% surge in infections. Russia on Thursday saw a record number of daily coronavirus fatalities for the third day in a row, with 672 lives lost over the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 135,886. Russian officials have blamed the worsening figures on the spread of the virus’ Delta variant, which is more contagious, aggressive, and difficult to treat.

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