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Oil prices slump, WTI at lowest level since 2002

Analysts now expect demand to slump considerably during the coming months which could put crude prices closer to $20 mark soon.

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New Delhi, March 18 : Crude oil prices continued their freefall on Wednesday with the WTI crude of US falling below the $24 per barrel mark.

Currently, the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude is trading at $23.76 per barrel, lower by nearly 12 per cent from its previous close.

Brent crude oil is at $26.65 a barrel, falling 7.2 per cent from its previous closing level.

The persistent fall can be attributed to both rise in supplies and declining demand. The coronavirus pandemic has almost brought the global travel industry to a halt, limiting demand for the commodity. Analysts now expect demand to slump considerably during the coming months which could put crude prices closer to $20 mark soon.

Further, the surge in supply by Saudi Arabia after the OPEC’s talks on deeper production cut with Russia failed has added to the pressure on oil prices.

Soon after the talks failed, crude had fallen by more than 25 per cent, the largest fall since the 1991 Gulf War, to $34 per barrel on March 9. During the week crude again lost about 10 per cent to touch a new low of $30 a barrel.

Along with oil prices, other commodities have also been under pressure both in the global and domestic markets. Gold futures on the Multi-Commodity Exchange are currently around Rs 39,720 per 10 gram lower by 1.3 per cent. In the US, gold futures are trading over 2 per cent lower at $1,492.50 per troy ounce. Silver futures are at $12.123 per troy ounce lower nearly 2 per cent from its previous close.

Global markets have been on a bear run including the financial markets for the past couple of weeks owing to the concerns of a significant impairing of the world economy due to the coronavirus crisis.

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Nizamuddin Railway station employee found corona positive

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New Delhi, April 8 (IANS) A 59-year-old employee of Indian Railways who is posted at the Nizamuddin station has been tested positive for coronavirus. The man has a few months left for retirement.

According to the Northern Railway, he was undergoing treatment at Central Hospital of Northern Railway, due to which 15 employees including doctors have also been infected in this hospital. This employee came to the hospital on March 31 and thereafter on April 2 due to poor health. Initially, there were no traces of coronavirus in him.

Deepak Kumar, Public Relations Officer of Northern Railway, said: “On April 2, when the man came to be hospitalized, the doctors suggested him to undergo MRI and CT scan tests. On April 6, when his report came, he was found positive for coronavirus. The patient has been sent to Rammanohar Lohia Hospital.”

Meanwhile, all 15 people of the Northern Railway Central Hospital, who came in contact with the corona-affected railway staff, have been kept in isolation. These people include doctors and nurses.

The infected railway staff works as a supervisor at the Nizamuddin railway station, hence, doesn’t come in direct contact with the people.

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Crowds at UP banks as lockdown extension appears possible

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Lucknow, April 8 (IANS) With newspapers and television channels announcing the possibility of the national lockdown being extended, people, on Wednesday, started rushing to the banks that witnessed substantial crowds.

The police in Uttar Pradesh had a tough time ensuring social distancing outside the banks.

The bank staff also tried to persuade the customers to stand at circled spots to ensure social distancing. However, since most banks do not have shades or porches, the customers were obviously uncomfortable standing in the sun.

Most of the customers at nationalized bank branch in Hazratganj area were senior citizens.

One of them said, “I have been standing here for about 40 minutes. There is no bench or chair for us. Moreover, the sun is right above our heads. There is no problem in waiting but some facilities should be made for senior citizens.”

Another customer, meanwhile, admitted that he had come to withdraw money after learning that the lockdown is likely to be extended.

“My pension has not come till now but I am going to withdraw money from my account because everything is being sold at a premium in the lockdown,” he said.

A police inspector, managing crowds outside another bank, said, “We understand their problem but they should also understand the need for social distancing. We are not enjoying this duty but rules have to be followed.”

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Markets open in red on Wednesday

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Mumbai, April 8: The 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) on Wednesday opened on a negative note during the morning session of the trade.

The Sensex of the BSE opened at 29,701.92 points and touched a high of 29,916.22. The Sensex touched a low of 29,602.94 points.

On Tuesday the Sensex closed at 30,067.21 points.

The Sensex is trading at 29,743.07 down by 324.14A points or 1.08 per cent.

On the other hand, the broader 50-scrip Nifty at the National Stock Exchange (NSE) opened at 8,688.90 points after closing at 8,792.20 points.

The Nifty is trading at 8,728.60 points in the morning.

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