Oil extended its sharp decline below $50 a barrel as traders weigh the impact on global demand from the spread of coronavirus, which has probably cut China’s oil consumption by 20%.
Futures in New York were down 0.7%, after plunging 2.8% Monday in a continuation of oil’s worst start to a year since 1991. Oil demand in the world’s biggest importer dropped by around 3 million barrels a day, according to people with inside knowledge of China’s energy industry.
The outbreak threatens what could be the largest demand shock since the global financial crisis. The effects are starting to ripple around the globe, as some Chinese refineries slow down or halt operations and cargoes of West African oil are being resold. OPEC and its allies are considering an emergency meeting to discuss deeper crude production cuts in an effort to stabilize prices.
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