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.
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.