Oil slumps more than 4% on coronavirus fears

LONDON: World oil prices tumbled by more than 4% on Thursday, as traders fretted about the impact of spreading coronavirus on crude demand, particularly from key consumer China.

Brent oil for April delivery tanked almost 4.2% to US$51.20 per barrel, while New York’s WTI crude for the same month dived nearly 5% to US$46.31.

“Concerns that the virus will prompt a global slowdown, weaker consumer confidence and reduced travel has raised concerns about lower demand, weighing on prices,” CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson told AFP.

Investors are growing increasingly fearful about the economic impact of the new coronavirus or Covid-19 outbreak.

The virus continues to spread meanwhile, with Brazil reporting Latin America’s first case, and Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Georgia, Norway and Pakistan following suit.

Around 2,800 people have died in China and more than 80,000 have been infected. There have been more than 50 deaths and 3,600 cases in dozens of other countries, raising fears of a pandemic.