Crude oil futures decline as coronavirus pandemic furthers weak demand outlook


Crude oil benchmarks suffered steep falls on Monday due to a worsening coronavirus pandemic and continuing price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Brent hit its lowest since November 2002 after falling 6.7%, or $1.68, at $23.25 per barrel. 

The US West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell steeply to $19.92, almost at an 18-year low. It last traded at $20.34, after falling 5.4%, or $1.17.

The oil markets have been struck by weak demands caused by both the pandemic and the Saudi Arabia-Russia price war.

On Friday, Saudi Arabia stated that talks about balancing the oil markets with Russia were not happening, despite US’ intervention to stop the price rout.

Oil demand is expected to fall at a staggering 15 million to 20 million barrels per day, analysts say, adding that more production cuts must be imposed beyond OPEC.

Brent crude futures’ contango spread between May and November passed $13.45 per barrel, while the six-month spread for US crude was at $12.85 per barrel.

Prompt prices are weaker in future months in a contango market considering a supply glut, and analysts urge traders to keep oil for future sales.

The coronavirus pandemic has heavily impacted the aviation industry after global travel bans and restrictions. The virus has infected 723,000 globally and has a death toll of 34,000.

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