Oil prices deepened their latest losses, plunging more than 30 percent from Friday’s closing, due to the failure of the OPEC and Russia to agree on production cuts and developments in the Corona crisis.
As of 07:41 GMT, Brent crude reached $33.60 per barrel, where the lowest level recorded during the session was at $31.05 a barrel, the lowest level since February 12, 2016, where it recorded experienced a decline of nearly 31 percent since Friday’s closing.
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures traded at $29.81 per barrel, touching $27.34, which is also the lowest level since February 12, 2016. U.S. crude is probably heading for the lowest level ever, if its losses exceed the 33 percent barrier.
The drop in oil prices is considered the worst since the beginning of the 1991 Gulf War.
The collapse of oil is the result of the failure of last Friday's meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC producers, most notably Russia, in reaching an agreement to cut oil production further.
Russia rejected OPEC's request to deepen production cuts by an additional 1.5 million barrels, with the current supply cut of 1.7 million barrels continuing. Moscow also opposed the OPEC agreement, saying it was too early to know the impact of the Coronavirus on demand.
Saudi authorities retaliated by cutting export prices and boosting production.
Investors fear a price war between oil producers, including increased production from all sides after the collapse of the OPEC-Russia agreement.
Saudi Arabia is expected to increase production by more than 10 million barrels per day in April after the end of the current agreement to curb production at the end of March.
On the other hand, the Coronavirus continued to worry the world about the slowing demand for raw materials, especially with the high number of deaths, infections and quarantine in Italy in several cities where millions of people live.
Last week, many international institutions lowered their forecasts for global economic growth figures for the lowest level since the financial crisis, with economic activity affected by Coronavirus fears and attempts to control its spread.
Meanwhile, the dollar
index, which measures the performance of six major currencies against the US
dollar, slumped by 1.02 percent at 94.65, touching the lowest level since January
2019 at 94.66.