Crude oil futures settled lower on Tuesday amid concerns about the outlook for near term energy demand due to the surge in coronavirus cases and fears of fresh lockdown measures.

Traders were also looking ahead to the weekly oil reports from the American Petroleum Institute (API) and Energy Information Administration (EIA). While API’s inventory report is due out later today, the EIA is scheduled to come out with its data Wednesday morning.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for September ended down $0.56 or about 1.4% at $41.04 a barrel.

Brent crude futures slid $0.19 or more than 0.4% to $43.22 a barrel.

Investors also kept a watch on U.S. stimulus talks and the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting. The Fed will release its monetary policy statement Wednesday afternoon.

U.S. Senate Republicans on Monday proposed a $1 trillion coronavirus aid package that slashes unemployment benefits from the current $600 per week to $200, generating swift backlash from Democrats.

The proposal extends the paycheck protection program, which is scheduled to expire on August 8.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urged Democrats to compromise with Republicans on the plan, as unemployment benefits will expire at the end of this week.

In news about coronavirus, a report from World Health Organization (WHO) says global Covid-19 cases doubled over the past six weeks. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he would resume the Emergency Committee on Thursday to re-evaluate the Covid-19 pandemic.


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