Oil prices fall amid coronavirus-related demand fears


Oil prices extended losses on Friday in heightened fears over weaker crude demand amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The West Texas Intermediate for May delivery decreased 1.09 U.S. dollars to settle at 21.51 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for May delivery fell 1.41 dollars to close at 24.93 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.

“Unlike the financial markets, the oil market is apparently finding it difficult to look beyond the current crisis,” Eugen Weinberg, an energy analyst at Commerzbank Research, said in a note on Friday.

Oil demand could decline by as much as 20 million barrels per day, or 20 percent, this year given that three billion people around the world are locked down, warned International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol on Thursday.

Analysts at energy and commodities information provider S&P Global Platts Analytics said that economic activity could be reduced by as much as 30 percent in Q2 in some countries, with oil demand down by 16 percent or 15 million barrels per day in the next couple of months.

Earlier this month, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, led by Russia, failed to strike a deal on oil production cuts. Enditem

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