Oil prices slide as coronavirus outbreak worsens
LONDON, February 24, 2020 – Oil prices slid on Monday in Asia amid signs that the global coronavirus outbreak has worsened.
US Crude Oil WTI Futures fell 2.4% to $52.11 by 12:13 AM ET (04:13 GMT). International Brent Oil Futures dropped 2.5% to $56.50.
In South Korea, 763 cases of the Covid-19 novel coronavirus have been confirmed. President Moon Jae-in on Sunday put the country on the highest possible alert in its fight against the coronavirus, which have killed seven people so far.
Meanwhile, Iran’s government confirmed 43 cases and 8 deaths caused by the illness since last Tuesday, the highest death toll outside of China. The number of confirmed cases Italy also surged over the weekend to 152, constituting the largest outbreak in Europe.
The news sent Asian equities lower today, with South Korean stocks down more than 3%.
On Friday, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization, warned about the chances of containing the global spread of the novel coronavirus outside of China. “The window of opportunity is still there, but our window of opportunity is narrowing,” he said.
“The only real support for oil since the coronavirus broke is the threat of supply outages – either from strife in Libya or the Trump administration’s newest sanctions aimed at the Rosneft-Venezuela pact or OPEC’s desperate attempts to manufacture a shortage with Russian collusion,” said Barani Krishnan, commodity analyst at Investing.com.
Oil prices recorded a second straight week of gains, but Krishnan cautioned that the rebound “barely looks like it has legs.”
If there’s one thing to be expected of the coronavirus, it is to expect the unexpected – and that applies to traders of all sizes and stripes,” he added.