Coronavirus containment measures hit global fuel prices

As the economic fall out from the Coronavirus outbreak continues, resulting travel restrictions and drops in global demand for fuel are driving down fuel prices.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) price per barrel sat at US$55.51 on Monday, down from $58.94 on January 31.

While financial media company Bloomberg reported Citigroup have anticipated it could fall to as low as $47 a barrel.

Reduced demand is being seen across jet fuel, gasoline and diesel as China, who are the world’a largest importer of gas and crude oil, grapple to contain the outbreak.

In figures reported by Reuters, China imported 506 million tones of crude oil last year – which they equate to more than 10.1 million barrels daily.

OPEC will convene this week to discuss options, including Saudi Arabia slowing output, according to The Wall Street Journal, until the virus is better contained and there is a better hold on its economic fallout.

Already major airlines have suspended all of some of their flights in and out of China, including Qantas (from February 9), Air Canada, Singapore Airlines, British Airways, Delta Air and United Airlines, to name a few.

Bordering countries, including North Korea and Russia, have also placed temporary travel bans on Chinese nationals while Hong Kong heavily restricted travel to/from the mainland.

China’s internal travel restrictions, as well as temporary factory and business closures and drops in production rates of goods due to the government extending Lunar New Year celebrations and reduced demand for imported goods, is further exacerbating drops in fuel demand.


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