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Oil prices mixed as demand shrinks, but stimulus hopes support

Thursday,   26-Mar-2020   09:18 AM (IST)

Oil prices were mixed on Thursday following three days of gains, with the prospect of rapidly dwindling demand due to coronavirus travel bans and lockdowns offsetting hopes a U.S. $2 trillion emergency stimulus will shore up economic activity. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude (CLc1) futures slipped 4 cents, or 0.2%, to $24.45 as of 0018 GMT, while Brent crude (LCOc1) futures rose 12 cents, or 0.4%, to $27.51. The collapse of a supply-cut pact between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers led by Russia is set to boost oil supply, with Saudi Arabia planning to ship more than 10 million bpd from May. U.S. crude inventories rose by 1.6 million barrels in the most recent week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday, marking the ninth straight week of increases. Products supplied, a proxy for U.S. demand, dropped nearly 10% to 19.4 million bpd, EIA data showed.