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Saudi Arabia Starts Oil Price War Amid Concern about Virus’ Impact
A Kuwaiti trader checks stock prices at Boursa Kuwait, March 8, 2020. Amid fears of an oil price war, stocks in Gulf states have sunk to multiyear lows. (Yasser al-Zayyat/AFP via Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia Starts Oil Price War Amid Concern about Virus’ Impact

Saudi Arabia slashed its official selling prices for oil over the weekend over worry about the impact of the coronavirus, starting a price war that has seen world oil prices plummet on Monday by around 30%. Brent crude futures, at $33.04 a barrel by 5:52 am GMT, were down 27%., and had earlier dropped to $31.02, their lowest since Feb. 12, 2016. They are expected to experience their biggest daily price drop since the start of the first Gulf War in January 1991. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell by 29% after reaching a record low not seen since Feb. 12, 2016. It could be heading for its sharpest daily decline ever, surpassing even the 33% drop it experienced in January 1991. Cooperation by the OPEC+ group, comprising OPEC and additional producers, including Russia, to stabilize the market from the impact of coronavirus, has ended. A deal to curb crude oil production expires at the end of March, and Saudi Arabia is reported to be planning to boost its output in April beyond 10 million barrels per day, in an attempt to punish Russia for not supporting the production cuts proposed last week by OPEC.

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