Oil falls for third day as coronavirus travel bans escalate

REUTERS

TOKYO (Reuters) – Oil prices fell for a third session on Wednesday to be down about 17% so far this week as the outlook for fuel demand darkened amid travel and social lockdowns triggered by the coronavirus epidemic.

Brent crude LCOc1 was trading down 43 cents, or 1.5%, at $28.30 a barrel by 0650 GMT, after dropping to $28.26 the lowest since early 2016. The international benchmark fell 4.3% on Tuesday.

U.S. crude Clc1 was down 47 cents, or 1.7%, at $26.48 a barrel, after falling as low as $26.20, also the lowest in more than four years. West Texas Intermediate fell 6% on Tuesday.

A drop in U.S. inventories of crude, gasoline and distillates, as reported by an industry group, provided some support to prices, but the demand outlook remains grim amid a price war among major producers.