US crude falls below $15 a barrel as virus throttles demand
US crude crashed to below $15 a barrel on Monday, its lowest level for over two decades, as concerns about a virus-triggered demand shock and lack of storage eclipsed an output cut deal.
West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the US benchmark, fell more than 19 percent to $14.73 a barrel in early Asian trade, before markets steadied and it clawed back some ground to $15.78 a barrel.
International benchmark Brent dropped 4.1 percent to $26.93 a barrel, before rising and stabilizing at $28.11.
Oil markets have plunged in recent weeks as lock downs and travel restrictions to fight the coronavirus around the world batter demand for the commodity.
The crisis was compounded after Saudi Arabia, kingpin of exporting group OPEC, launched a price war with non-OPEC member Russia.
Riyadh and Moscow drew a line under their dispute earlier this month when they and other countries agreed to cut output by almost 10 million barrels a day to boost virus-hit markets but prices have continued to fall heavily, with analysts saying the cuts will not be enough to make up for massive falls in demand caused by the pandemic.