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Oil prices are on course for their biggest weekly fall since October as signs of flagging demand in key markets abruptly halted a vigorous rally.

International benchmark Brent crude suffered its biggest one-day fall since June on Thursday, leaving it down almost 8 per cent since the end of last week at just under $64 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark, is down a similar margin for the week to trade at $60.48.

The slide has put the brakes on an almost unbroken rally this year. Brent and WTI have soared more than 60 per cent since early November as the world has begun to reopen in the wake of pandemic-induced lockdowns.

But analysts said the rally had got ahead of itself after Brent pierced the $70-a-barrel level last week, with traders refocusing on renewed lockdown measures in parts of Europe and signs that physical demand in China and the US remained fragile.

“I think the market is catching up with itself in terms of the actual physical demand for crude in China and the United States,” said Christopher Page, senior oil market analyst at Rystad Energy.

In Beijing, authorities were reported to be cracking down on imports of heavy emissions fuels…

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