LONDON: Oil prices fell 2% on Thursday, plunging for the fifth day to their lowest since January 2019 as a rise in new coronavirus cases outside China fuelled fears of a pandemic that could slow the global economy and dent demand for crude.
Brent crude was down $1.06, or 2%, at $52.37 a barrel at 1011 GMT. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures CLc1 fell $0.97, or 2%, to $47.76 a barrel.
For the first time since the coronavirus outbreak in China, the number of new coronavirus infections outside China exceeded new Chinese cases.
Petroleum Division proposes oil price hedging
The spread of the virus to large economies including South Korea, Japan and Italy has raised concerns that growth in fuel demand will be limited. Consultants Facts Global Energy forecast oil demand would grow by 60,000 barrels per day in 2020, a level it called “practically zero”, due to the outbreak.
US President Donald Trump sought to assure Americans on Wednesday evening that the risk from coronavirus remained “very low”, but Asian share markets fell on Thursday morning.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2020.
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