Oil prices went into the red on Wednesday as faltering fuel demand from the spread of the coronavirus outweighed a massive pending US economic stimulus package.
The West Texas Intermediate for May delivery increased 0.65 USA dollar to settle at 24.01 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for May delivery was up 0.12 dollar to close at 27.15 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate was at $24.86 a barrel at the same time for a 3.54% gain after ending the previous session at $24.01 per barrel.
The US Congress may vote on Wednesday on the $2 trillion stimulus package which boosted stock markets on Tuesday.
USA crude was at $23.58 a barrel, down 81 cents, or 3.4%.
India, the world's third largest oil consumer, ordered its 1.3 billion residents to stay home for three weeks as of Tuesday, the latest big fuel user to announce restrictions on social movement that have destroyed demand for gasoline and jet fuel worldwide. Cushing inventories rose 1.066 million barrel.
The market was substantially off and analysts remained pessimistic that oil prices would stage an extended recovery amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation. The Dallas Fed said its business activity index plunged from -4.2 in the fourth quarter to -50.9 in the first, the lowest reading in the survey's four-year history.
"We are entering into the single worst reset in energy prices in my lifetime", said one respondent.
Oil prices have fallen by more than 45 per cent this month after OPEC+, comprising the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers, including Russian Federation, failed to agree on extending output cuts.