The price of oil has dropped as Mexico, a major oil exporter, shuts down much of its trade due to the rising incidence of swine flu.
The health scare that is making markets around the world jittery is the major factor behind oil's 4% decline to $49 a barrel today, adding further caution to financially fragile markets.
Crude oil futures in the US were down $2.11 to $49.44 for June delivery and London Brent crude was down to $49.81 a barrel – a decrease of $1.86.
According to reports, Gulf oil producers said their crude prices could remain moderate for a while longer but could result in a possible fuel price spike if the market does not recover soon.
Much of mexico City has been shut down as a result of swine flu – a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type-A influenza that is now combined with human and bird influenza that has already killed 103 people there and spread to the New Zealand and the US.
Governments around the world are now on high alert to stop the spread of any infection as the World Health Organisation activates a 24-hour command centre to track the spread of the disease.
By Penny Jones.