Crude Oil Futures Settle Sharply Lower As Demand Worries Resurface

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Crude oil prices tanked on Tuesday amid rising concerns about outlook for energy demand due to extension of lockdown measures in several parts of Europe, and on slow vaccine rollouts.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and regional leaders of 16 federal states agreed late Monday to impose a hard lockdown during Easter amid an exponential growth in the number of coronavirus cases in the country, in what is being called a “third wave”.

Reports say the number of coronavirus cases is rising in India. In the U.S., New Jersey is said to be considering to defer its reopening plans as cases are surging again in the state.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May ended down $3.80 or about 6.2% at $57.76 a barrel.

Brent crude futures were down $4.02 or 6.21% at 60.60 a barrel a little while ago

Meanwhile, there is a setback of sorts for AstraZeneca’s vaccine as the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) said AstraZeneca may have provided an incomplete view of efficacy data on its vaccine from a large scale U.S. trial.

Traders now await the weekly oil reports from American Petroleum Institute (API) and Energy Information Administration (EIA). The API’s report is due later today, while the EIA will release its weekly crude inventory data Wednesday morning.

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