The Coronavirus Is Only Partially Responsible for the Stock Markets' Plunge

Published March 10th, 2020 - 11:59 GMT
The Coronavirus Is Only Partially Responsible for the Stock Markets' Plunge
Markets are expected to witness extreme volatility unless KSA and Russia reach a new agreement. (Shutterstock)

While the world is still processing the historic plummet of stocks and oil prices that hit a record low on Monday, afraid of anticipating a looming recession, experts are taking every chance to explain that "Black Monday" was only partially driven by the growing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States.

Over the past week, 26 people have been confirmed dead as a result of the coronavirus outbreak in the US, with 36 states recording more than 700 cases. Fears of the epidemic going out of control are rising as the virus makes its way to every corner of the world, infecting hundreds of thousands of people in all continents except for Antarctica, causing many panicking investors to sell their shares.

Yet, the strong fall we witnessed in stock markets and oil prices on the 9th of March seems to be more driven by the oil prices war launched by Saudi Arabia against Russia than by the coronavirus outbreak.

Over the past two months, COVID-19 contributed to a gradual decrease in oil prices, with travel bans and restrictions taking place, lowering the global demand for it and urging oil producers to discuss measures that can stabilize the energy market.

The International Energy Agency had called for on OPEC+ meeting to discuss contraction of oil production by about 1.5 million barrels a day for oil-producing countries to maintain prices.

The meeting that took place in Vienna last week ended in a Saudi-Russian strong clash, especially after Russia expressed its unwillingness to cut on producing oil. The Russian representative cited the rising US oil production despite the 2017 agreement to curb oil output, ending the three-year partnership with OPEC members.

The failed meeting between the world's largest oil producers was followed by a Saudi "declaration of war", with Riyadh's decision to not only boost production but also cut prices by $7 USD per barrel, forcing oil prices into its deepest dip since the 1991 Gulf War.

The energy market crash sent a red wave across stock markets worldwide in what's been called "Black Monday".

Moreover, Saudi oil giant Aramco announced plans to hike its production to 12.3 million barrels a day starting from April, which can cause oil prices to plunge deeper.

Despite a quick recovery on Tuesday morning, markets are expected to witness extreme volatility unless the two countries reach a new agreement.

In his efforts to contain the market shake, US President Donald Trump has reportedly proposed new tax cuts hoping to calm stricken markets and generate more confidence among investors.


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