NEW YORK (Sputnik) – Oil prices suffered their worst monthly loss in 14 months as China’s coronavirus crisis dragged without an end in sight, raising questions about demand for crude and products like jet fuel from the world’s largest buyer.
Brent, the UK-traded global benchmark for crude oil, settled down 71 cents, or 1.2 percent, at $56.52 on Friday. Brent struck a four-month low of 55.94 in intraday trade. West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the US benchmark, closed the day down 58 cents, or 1.1 percent, at $51.56 per barrel. WTI reached a near six-month low of $50.98 in intraday trade.
Analysts predicted the red streak in oil would continue as long as the China economy remained crippled by the coronavirus crisis.
China has reported more than 200 deaths and 10,000 infections from the coronavirus and whole industries from travel to automobile manufacturing have virtually come to a standstill in the world’s number two economy.
Wall Street investment bankers say lost consumption of energy globally from the crisis in China could run into hundreds of thousands of barrels per day for both crude oil and jet fuel. The impact on China alone has been withering enough for Goldman Sachs to revise down the country’ 2020 GDP growth expectations to 5.5% from 5.9%.