Coronavirus Covid-19: Oil prices set for worst week since 2008

13 March 2020 (Last Updated March 13th, 2020 12:24)

Oil prices have crawled up by 2% before Friday, but the week will still be the largest weekly drop since the 2008 financial crisis.

Coronavirus Covid-19: Oil prices set for worst week since 2008
Trump added that the US output was declining in response to the collapse in oil prices. Credit: Bill Dickinson.

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Oil prices have crawled up by 2% before Friday, but the week will still be the largest weekly drop since the 2008 financial crisis, Reuters reported.

Production increases by major oil producers have added more crude to an oversupplied market. This contributed to oil prices already crippled by the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the news agency, Brent crude futures were up by $0.70 to $33.92 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil increased $0.80 to $32.30 per barrel.

Brent looks set to drop around 25% and WTI by more than 22% since Monday. This will be the biggest one-week fall in oil prices since the December 2008 financial crisis.

CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy was quoted by Reuters as saying: “It’s been a very rough week and so it’s not impossible people are locking in ahead of the weekend.

“I would also point out that in the context of the recent moves it’s not really a major move.”

Both Saudi Arabia and the UAE increased oil production as part of their price war with Russia. The threat of a flood of cheap oil compounded market concerns.

The global oil price war started after Russia refused to agree on supply cuts proposed by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Goldman Sachs said in a note: “The surge in low-cost production is significantly larger than expected with the collapse in demand due to the coronavirus looking increasingly broad.”

Due to the steeping prices, major energy producers in the US are intending to cut investment and drilling plans.

Meanwhile, the death toll from the virus has crossed 4,700 as of the end of 12 March.

The total number of recoveries has increased to about 68,300. The number of confrimed cases stands at more than 128,330.

In Italy, the number of cases has risen to 15,113 and the death toll increased to 1,016.