Oil prices fell on Thursday alongside major markets as U.S. President Donald Trump implemented a travel ban on Europe, after the World Health Organization declared the ICOVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic.
Investor worries were doubled by an overflow of cheap supply threatening the market after Saudi Arabia assured an increase in oil production to record highs as part of the oil price war with Russia.
Brent crude slid 5.3%, or $1.91, to $33.88. The contract dropped almost 4% on Thursday. U.S. crude lost 5.3%, or $1.74, to $31.24, following a 4% drop in the last session.
Overall, oil lost 50% of its highs from January.
Global shares tumbled after Trump announced the travel ban of all flights from Europe to the United States, followed by an announcement of further measures to be implemented.
The travel bans on Europe, which now excludes Britain, will heavily impact US airlines, according to its industry association.
The sudden travel ban is expected to cause bigger falls in jet fuel demands as it continues to struggle against the impact of the virus.
United Arab Emirates followed Saudi Arabia’s decision to increase oil production after the agreement between the OPEC+ to control supply and prices collapsed. ADNOC, the national oil company of UAE, expressed its plan to increase crude sales up to 4 million bpd.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration and the OPEC cut oil demand estimates due to the pandemic.
U.S. inventories data showed that the virus had little effect on oil. Crude stocks rose by 7.7 million barrels, but gasoline and diesel inventories fell as refining rums stay within seasonally low levels.
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