BUSINESS Oil prices fall amid demand fears

BUSINESS

Oil prices fall amid demand fears

Xinhua

10:10, March 18, 2020

NEW YORK, March 17 (Xinhua) -- Oil prices extended losses on Tuesday as fears that the spread of the COVID-19 would further dent global demand for crude continued to weigh on the market.

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Photo: CGTN

The West Texas Intermediate for April delivery decreased 1.75 U.S. dollars, or 6.1 percent, to settle at 26.95 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for May delivery was down 1.32 dollars, or 4.39 percent, to close at 28.73 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.

Market participants were anxious about significant downside risks to oil demand amid the coronavirus fallout.

Meanwhile, there is still sign of a price war on the oil market, as Saudi Arabia and Russia - the two major oil producers - are making no attempt to reconcile their differences, experts noted.

Given that demand is declining at the same time as a result of the increasingly drastic restrictions aimed at combating coronavirus, the behaviour of the world's two major oil producers can be described as "a wanton act of self-destruction," Carsten Fritsch, energy analyst at Commerzbank Research, said in a note Tuesday.

Failure to strike a deal earlier this month between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, led by Russia, about oil production cuts, had sparked fears of a possible price war.

Saudi Arabia, a key OPEC member, and Russia have already announced a significant increase in oil production.

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