Oil Prices Drop as Virus Spreads
The price of oil was down 3% on Monday over concerns that the global response to a coronavirus epidemic, for example by imposing widespread travel restrictions, could sap demand. The number of reported infections has jumped in countries such as Iran, Italy and South Korea, raising concerns about its potential impact down the road. South Korea reported its seventh death and raised its infectious disease already to its highest level. Italy reported a third death and 150 infections; before Friday, only three people were reported to have the virus there. Iran has confirmed 43 cases and eight deaths, concentrated in the Shi’ite Muslim holy city of Qom. A number of neighboring Muslim countries have imposed travel and immigration curbs on Iran. Meanwhile, in China, local health officials said on Monday that four provinces – Yunnan, Guangdong, Shanxi and Guizhou – had seen a drop in new infections and had lowered their virus emergency response measures.