New York, Jan 24 : Oil prices extended losses on Thursday as traders continued to worry about an economic slowdown, which could result in weaker demand for energy.
The West Texas Intermediate for March delivery settled $1.15 lower at $55.59 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for March delivery dropped 1.17 dollars to close at 62.04 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.
Despite news of supply outages, concerns about demand definitely gained the upper hand, which would exacerbate the oversupply risks, energy analysts at Commerzbank Research said in a note on Thursday.
Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, reportedly said earlier this week that he expected the market to be oversupplied by as much as 1 million barrels per day in the first half of this year.
Traders also kept a close eye on the disruptions to Libya's crude output.
On January 18, Libya's state-owned National Oil Corporation (NOC) declared a state of force majeure in oil ports, accusing the east-based army of closing the ports.
The closure of the ports causes loss of daily crude oil production of 8,00,000 barrels, or a daily equivalent of 55 million dollars, the NOC said in a statement.