Oil prices volatile as virus saps demand

Oil extends gains after Trump hints at intervening in Saudi Russia price war

The sun sets behind a crude oil pump jack on a drill pad in the Permian Basin in Loving CountyMore

President Donald Trump said Thursday he may intervene in an oil price war between Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia that has USA oil drillers reeling, but that for now low prices are like a tax cut for American consumers.

Hoeven also says the Department of Energy's plans to buy 77 million barrels of American-made crude oil to fill the strategic petroleum preserve should help to level out the market as well.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that rates to store oil at one of the world's biggest trading hubs are surging, as traders globally scramble to secure space in tanks to cope with slumping demand from the coronavirus outbreak and a flood of supply from the Saudi-Russia price war.

West Texas Intermediate for April delivery, which expires Friday, fell $2.79 to settle at $22.43 a barrel in NY.

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"Global oil demand is falling at an unprecedented pace.Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation remain at the focal point of the price plunge, but the negative demand shock to the market may define the next several weeks", said Helima Croft, global head of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets.

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The American shale industry has found itself caught in the middle of a fight over market share between Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation.

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Trump said he would take action in the oil dispute at the "appropriate time", adding that low prices are now akin to a tax cut for American consumers.

Brent crude futures slipped 3 cents, or 0.1 per cent, to $28.44 per barrel.

Oil prices fell today as political leaders around the world escalated lockdowns to curb the spread of the global coronavirus pandemic that has plunged the demand outlook for oil and threatened global economic growth. "Unless somebody intervenes, no oil producer benefits from the current environment". And the head of the American Petroleum Institute, Mike Sommers, also has encouraged the president to engage with Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation to ensure markets aren't oversupplied.

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