Oil prices fell three percent on Monday amid concerns by investors that demand would be negatively affected by the rapid spread of the Corona virus outside China's borders.
As of 07:59 GMT, Brent crude reached $56.12 per barrel, compared to the sessions open at $56.39 a barrel, touching the lowest level at $53.11, which is the lowest since February 2019.
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures traded at $51.80 per barrel, to complete three consecutive daily sessions of losses, while the lowest level recorded during the session was at $51.74, the lowest since February 19.
The dramatic drop in oil follows a sudden increase in the number of cases of MERS-CoV infections outside China that raised fears of damage to global economic growth.
China is considered the world's second largest consumer of crude oil after the United States, with a daily consumption of approximately 13.2 million barrels per day and the world's largest importer of crude oil with a daily average of 10 million barrels.
Moreover, Goldman Sachs Bank expects global crude demand falling by 260,000 barrels per day this year, with jet fuel accounting for two-thirds of that loss, which could push the price of oil down by $2.90 per barrel.
Regarding Coronavirus, China's National Health Commission said Monday that China's mainland recorded 409 new confirmed cases of MERS-CoV on Sunday, down from 648 on Saturday.
However, the Commission said in a statement that the number of new deaths had risen to 150, compared with 97 during the same period.
Outside China, South Korea on Monday reported 161 new confirmed cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of people living with HIV in South Korea to 763, while Kuwait said three citizens from Iran had been infected with the coronavirus.
Asian stocks also continued to suffer losses as concerns about the impact of the emerging virus grew, with a jump in infection numbers in Iran, Italy and South Korea.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index slumped 1.71 percent to 26,841.73, while the Shanghai Composite Index closed 0.28 percent down at 3,031.23.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 finished 2.25 percent down at 6,978.28 and South Korea’s Kospi index descended 3.87 percent to 2,079.04.
Meanwhile, the dollar index, which measures the performance of six major
currencies against the US dollar, advanced 0.30 percent at 99.55.