Oil prices extended losses on Thursday as fears of weaker demand continued to rattle the market.
The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for April delivery dropped 1.64 dollars, or 3.37 percent, to close at 47.09 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was the lowest front-month contract finish since early January 2019, according to FactSet data. WTI traded at 45.88 dollars per barrel at its low of the day.
Brent crude for April delivery fell 1.25 dollars, or 2.34 percent, to settle at 52.18 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange. The international benchmark hit 50.97 dollars per barrel at the low, its lowest level since December 2018.
Traders weighed the potential impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
“When the coronavirus brings areas of public life and production to a standstill, this results in significantly lower demand for diesel for transport and production, as well as for kerosene in aviation,” Carsten Fritsch, energy expert at Commerzbank Research, said in a note Thursday.
Meanwhile, latest U.S. inventory data also had no positive impact on prices.
U.S. crude oil inventories increased during the week ending Feb. 21, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in a report on Wednesday.
According to the Weekly Petroleum Status Report, U.S. commercial crude oil inventories, excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, increased by 500,000 barrels from the previous week. Enditem