Oil Prices Slip Again on Renewed Coronavirus Outbreak Fears
Oil prices witnessed a sharp drop on Monday as renewed concerns about the spread of the Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outside China gripped global financial and commodity markets. The near-month contract for Brent crude delivery dropped to below US$57 per barrel on Monday after having recovered to cross the US$59 mark last week. WTI crude prices also slipped from around US$54 per barrel on Friday to below US$52 during trade on Monday.
The past weekend saw the number of worldwide cases of the virus jump to over 78,000 in as many as 30 countries, including a significant spike in the number of reported infections in South Korea, Italy and Iran. Chinese President Xi Jinping made a speech on Sunday warning of the economic impact of the virus, whilst also stating that he believed it was temporary and containable. Over the past week, China announced various stimulus measures including tax and fee cuts for small and medium-sized businesses aimed at cushioning the economic impact of the virus.