Oil prices went into the red on Wednesday as faltering fuel demand from the spread of the coronavirus outweighed a massive pending U.S. economic stimulus package.
Brent crude was down 92 cents, or 3.4%, at $26.24 U.S. per barrel after earlier rising to a high of $28.29. U.S. crude was down 34 cents, or 1.42%, at $23.67 U.S. after earlier hitting a high of $25.24 U.S. per barrel.
U.S. senators and Trump administration officials have reached an agreement on the $2-trillion stimulus bill which is expected to be passed through the Congress later on Wednesday.
Still, demand for oil products, especially jet fuel, is falling worldwide as more governments announce nationwide lockdowns, putting a lid on oil price gains.
Refineries the world over are responding to the fall in demand by reducing output, with plants in India the latest cut crude processing, while ports in the world’s largest democracy could face delays to crude discharging amid new measures to curb the spread of the virus.
India, the world’s second most populous country and the third largest oil consumer, has entered a 21-day government enforced lockdown.