EghtesadOnline: Oil prices slumped to their lowest in more than a year on Friday and were set for their steepest weekly fall in more than four years as the spread of the coronavirus stokes fears of slowing global demand.
Investors are increasingly worried as the virus has spread beyond its epicenter in China to more than 40 other countries, CNBC reported.
The most active Brent crude contract for May was down $1.42, or 2.8%, at $50.31 a barrel, a 14-month low, according to Financial Tribune.
West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell $1.39, or about 3%, to $45.70 per barrel. US crude has fallen about 14% for the week, the biggest weekly decline since May 2011.
New infections of the coronavirus reported around the world were now surpassing those in mainland China, where more than 2,700 people have died. A further 57 deaths have been recorded in other countries.
Benchmark Brent crude, which fell about 2% on Thursday, has shed around 13% this week, putting it on track for its steepest weekly decline since January 2016.
But some market participants are expecting the recent sell-offs to be reined in as soon as the demand fears wane.
Oil markets are hoping for steeper supply cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia, a group known as OPEC+.
OPEC+, which is currently reducing output by roughly 1.7 million barrels per day to support prices, is due to meet in Vienna on March 5-6.