Crude oil futures plummeted to over 18-year lows on Wednesday as mounting worries about excess supply and concerns over imminent drop in energy demand took a toll on the commodity.
West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May ended down $0.24, or 1.2%, at $19.87 a barrel, the lowest close since February 2002.
Brent crude futures lost nearly $2.00, or about 6.5%, to settle at $27.69 a barrel.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has forecast a 29 million barrel per day (bpd) dive in April oil demand to a level last seen in 1995 and said no output cut could fully offset the near-term falls facing the market.
“There is no feasible agreement that could cut supply by enough to offset such near-term demand losses,” the IEA said in its closely-watched monthly report.
There is an unprecedented demand shock in energy markets as governments around the world impose draconian measures on the lives of billions of people.
Data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) this morning showed crude oil inventories in the U.S. increased by 19.2 million barrels in the week ended April 10, much larger by an expected increase of about 12 million barrels.
Meanwhile, industry group the American Petroleum Institute (API) said on Tuesday that U.S. crude inventories rose by 13.143 million barrels during the period ended on April 10, versus the previous addition of 11.938 million barrels. Official government inventory figures are due later in the day.