Oil futures were mixed Monday, with the U.S. benchmark turning higher after the Federal Reserve unleashed another round of monetary stimulus. Brent remained lower as countries around the world, including the U.S., move to further restrict activity in a bid to slow the coronavirus pandemic.
The lack of agreement on a U.S. rescue package in the Senate also kept pressure on oil and other assets perceived as risky, with stock-index futures signaling a sharply lower for Wall Street, in tune with a continued slide in global equities.
West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery CL.1, +2.34% rose 41 cents, or 2.2%, to $21.34 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. May Brent crude BRN.1, -2.34%, the global benchmark, dropped $1.17, or 4.3%, to $25.81 a barrel on ICE Europe.
The Federal Reserve on Monday announced it would purchase an unlimited amount of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities to support the functioning of financial markets.
Meanwhile, the double whammy of a global demand hit from the COVID-19 pandemic and the prospect of increased production as a result of a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia were seen keeping pressure on crude.
“Oil has obviously been unable to escape this pressure, with it pretty clear the impact stricter travel restrictions will have on global oil demand. What is less clear though is how much of a contraction we could see in oil demand, given the pace at which things are evolving,” wrote analysts at ING, in a note.
A $1.3 trillion Republican package hit a roadblock in the Senate on Sunday night, with Democrats blocking the measure due to disagreements over corporate bailout measures and aid to displaced workers.
Meanwhile, Louisiana, Delaware and Ohio were the latest states to order citizens to stay home in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
April natural-gas futures were off 2.3% at $1.567 per million British thermal units.