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Crude Oil Slides For 5th Day As Virus Spreads Beyond China, Inventories Rise

27 Feb 2020 8:07 am
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Mumbai (Commodities Control) – Oil prices fell for a fifth day on Thursday to their lowest since January 2019 as a growing number of new coronavirus cases outside of China deepened fears that the global economy will slow and lower crude demand.

Brent crude was down 77 cents or 1.4% at $52.66 a barrel at 0204 GMT. The contract earlier fell to its lowest since Jan. 4, 2019. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures fell by 80 cents, or 1.6%, to $47.93 a barrel. The contract earlier fell to its lowest since Jan. 2, 2019.

Brent prices have dropped 11% in the past five trading sessions through Thursday, the biggest five-day percentage loss since August 2019. WTI has declined 10.8% over the same period, also the biggest five-day percentage drop since August 2019.

On Wednesday, the number of new coronavirus infections outside China exceeded the number reported in China, the source of the outbreak, for the first time ever. Italy and Iran are emerging as new epicentres of the rapidly spreading illness.

President Donald Trump assured Americans on Wednesday evening that the risk from coronavirus remained "very low". However, Asian share markets fell on Thursday morning, as investors fear the coronavirus spread will disrupt the global economy as quarantines and other measures to halt its advance slow trade and industry.

If an outbreak "continues to worsen in the United States, oil prices will likely decline further, especially with U.S. gasoline prices already plunging," Saito said.


The U.S. government reported a drop in gasoline inventories last week, but U.S. gasoline prices have taken a dive since late last week due to concerns over slowing demand, Saito said.

U.S. crude oil stockpiles increased by 452,000 barrels to 443.3 million barrels, the EIA said, which was less than the 2-million-barrel rise analysts had expected. The crude market was also watching for possible deeper output cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies including Russia, a group known as OPEC+.


OPEC+ plans to meet in Vienna over March 5-6.

(Commodities COntrol Bureau)


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