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Oil down despite second US Federal Reserve rate cut

16 March 2020 22:48

ANKARA. KAZINFORM Crude oil prices were down during Monday's early trading despite the cut to near zero the U.S. Federal Reserve made on its benchmark interest rate during the second emergency meeting it held in a month to support the economy.

International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $32.11 per barrel at 0640 GMT on Monday for a 5.1% decline after it closed Friday at $33.85 a barrel, Anadolu Agency reports.

American benchmark West Texas Intermediate was trading at $30.91 a barrel at the same time for a 2.6% loss after it ended the previous week at $31.73 per barrel.

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) decided late Sunday to lower the target range for the federal funds rate by 100 basis points to 0%-0.25% and launched a $700 billion quantitative easing program to support the American economy against the negative impact of coronavirus.

«The [FOMC] committee will increase its holdings of Treasury securities by at least $500 billion and its holdings of agency mortgage-backed securities by at least $200 billion,» the FOMC said in a statement.

«The coronavirus outbreak has harmed communities and disrupted economic activity in many countries, including the United States. Global financial conditions have also been significantly affected,» it added.

The rate cut marked the second time the central bank lowered its benchmark interest rate after March 3 when it decreased its interest rate by 50 basis points.

The Fed's move lowered the value of the U.S. dollar against other major economies' currencies, thus making crude oil cheaper, however, oil prices continue their decline.

While coronavirus is causing weak global oil consumption and low economic activity around the world, Saudi Arabia and Russia are preparing to ramp up their oil production levels in April - a move which is set to increase the glut of supply and put further pressure on prices.

Keywords: Oil & Gas, World News,