Oil prices settle mixed as demand concerns persist

NEW YORK, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- Oil prices ended mixed on Tuesday as soaring COVID-19 infections continued to spark fears over fuel demand.

The West Texas Intermediate for March delivery lost 16 cents to settle at 52.61 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for March delivery increased 3 cents to close at 55.91 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.

The moves came as the global COVID-19 caseload surpassed a grim milestone of 100 million, with related deaths exceeding 2.1 million as of Tuesday afternoon.

The United States has suffered most from the pandemic with more than 25.3 million cases and over 423,000 fatalities, showed a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Meanwhile, oil prices garnered some support from positive news on the supply side as Iraq, which had produced more than agreed in the summer, plans to make compensatory production cuts in January and February.

According to Bloomberg, the country will therefore produce around 3.6 million barrels per day in the two months, the lowest level since early 2015.

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