Oil prices have edged down after President Donald Trump bans passenger travel from Europe to US due to coronavirus (Covid-19).
The 30-day travel ban follows a declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) that the coronavirus outbreak can be ‘characterised’ as a pandemic.
The restriction, which does not include Britain, is set to go into effect on Friday at midnight. The suspension is expected to batter airlines, said analysts.
This move by the US is likely to mean a further decline in demand for jet and other fuels.
According to Reuters, Brent crude futures were down by $1.91 to $33.88 a barrel. The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil dipped $1.74, decreasing to $31.24 per barrel.
Meanwhile, the news agency noted that the threat of a flood of cheap supply compounded market concerns as Saudi Arabia vowed to raise output due to oil price war with Russia.
UAE’s national oil company ADNOC has also announced plans to increase crude sales to over four million barrels per day (bpd).
The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) ‘now expect oil demand to contract this quarter’.
WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement: “We have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a coronavirus. And we have never before seen a pandemic that can be controlled at the same time.”
The death toll from the virus has increased to more than 4,600 as of the end of 11 March.
The recoveries have increased to about 68,200, while the total confirmed cases worldwide have passed 126,140.
To address coronavirus Covid-19, the WHO has published research and development (R&D) roadmap.