OPEC May Meet Early As Oil Prices Plummet Due To Coronavirus Concerns

Published February 2nd, 2020 - 08:19 GMT
OPEC May Meet Early As Oil Prices Plummet Due To Coronavirus Concerns
Brent crude has dropped more than 10% this month. (Shutterstock)
Highlights
As airlines across the globe suspend flights to China, oil prices slumped, adding to the pressure on OPEC and its allies to extend or deepen the group’s oil-production cuts.
OPEC members are considering holding an emergency meeting next month, as oil prices sink on concern the coronavirus outbreak will hit demand.


Algerian Energy Minister Mohamed Arkab said the producer group’s meeting scheduled for March is likely to be moved to February, the Algerie Presse Service reported. A decision may be taken “in the coming days,” he said.


The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is trying to meet as early as next week, a delegate from the group with knowledge of the discussion said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private.

Another delegate said the talks were at an informal stage, while several other delegates said they were unaware of any discussion to bring forward the meeting date. OPEC and its allies are set to meet March 5-6 to discuss the future of oil-production cuts that expire at the end of March.

An outbreak of the pneumonia-like illness has left 7,800 people infected and 170 dead since the first case was reported on Dec. 30 in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province. As airlines across the globe suspend flights to China, oil prices slumped, adding to the pressure on OPEC and its allies to extend or deepen the group’s oil-production cuts.

Brent crude has dropped more than 10% this month even after the US killed a key Iranian general and Libya’s oil production was cut to near zero following a blockade of the nation’s ports that virtually halted exports. Saudi Arabia has said it’s “closely monitoring” the effect of the virus on the oil market. 


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