Por Bozorgmehr Sharafedin
LONDON, Nov 22 (Reuters) – Crude prices rose slightly on Monday, but remained pressured by rising COVID-19 cases in Europe and a possible release of oil reserves in Japan, raising concerns about a glut supply and a weak demand.
* Brent and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude prices lost more than $ 1 in early trading, falling to their lowest level since October 1.
* At 1110 GMT, Brent was up 2 cents, or 0.03%, at $ 79.91 a barrel, while WTI was up 4 cents, or 0.05%, at $ 75.97 a barrel.
* The prospect of national lockdowns in Europe has raised concerns about economic growth and oil demand, said Tamas Varga, an analyst at London-based brokerage PVM Oil Associates.
* Investors sought refuge in the safety of assets such as the dollar early in the session, which contributed to the sharp drop in crude prices, Varga added.
* The dollar was trading near a 16-month high against the euro on Monday, making the price of crude in the greenback more expensive for buyers of other currencies.
* Also, the possible release of crude from strategic oil reserves (SPR) kept pressure on the price of crude, leaving Brent below the psychologically important mark of $ 80.
* Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Saturday that he is ready to help with efforts to combat rising oil prices following a request by the United States to release crude from its reserves.