Weaker Demand for Oil as Coronavirus Spreads, Pushing Prices Down

Saudi Arabia and other oil producing nations that form the OPEC+ group are seeking common ground on how to keep oil prices from tumbling further in the face of weak demand from the spread of the Coronavirus.

As the total number of Coronavirus cases increases past 45,000 with over 1,000 dead, global concern about the spread of the virus is weighing on demand for oil, especially in China, where the virus originated.

Oil prices have plummeted in 2020 as the Coronavirus spreads.

Oil prices have plummeted in 2020 as the Coronavirus spreads.

At the start of the year, Brent crude traded as high as $68.91. By January 20th, when the Coronavirus had begun its spread to 282 people with 6 dead, Brent oil closed at $65.20. Today, Brent oil closed at $56.07.

Oil bulls are hoping that Russia will accept an OPEC+ proposal for fresh production cuts to prop up the price of oil as Bloomberg reports that at least four Asian oil refiners will take delivery of less Saudi Arabian crude than planned in March.

As Bloomberg notes, the Energy Information Administration cut its global petroleum demand growth outlook by 23% to 1.03 million barrels a day, citing partial effects from the coronavirus in its monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook.