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The epidemic of the coronavirus, despite its small scale in numerical terms, gave rise to literally psychological pandemic.

The total fear of a new biological threat brought down the oil market last week and became the occasion for talk about an extraordinary meeting of OPEC.
On Monday, oil prices continued to fall and fell below $ 60 per barrel for the first time in three months. Brent prices fell $ 1.95 per barrel or 3.2% to $ 58.75 per barrel. This is the lowest figure since the end of October. American oil prices fell $ 1.77 per barrel, or 3.3%, to $ 52.42 per barrel. The Chinese government extended the Lunar New Year weekend to February 2 so that as many people as possible stay at home. At the beginning of the week, due to the fears of decrease in oil demand, traders made an assumption that OPEC and its allies will consider the possibility of tightening voluntary restrictions on oil production.

According to sources from OPEC, the cartel intends to extend the restrictions on oil production, at least until June. In addition, there is the possibility of increasing oil production restrictions. The organization began discussions about possible options for stabilizing the situation. The information also appeared that Russia, which had previously expressed its desire to cease to comply with the OPEC agreement, as soon as possible, now intends to comply with the terms of the transaction, at least until the prices are below $ 60 per barrel.

The confirmation of information appeared in the middle of the week. Algerian Energy Minister Mohammed Arkaba told the Algerie Presse Service that the OPEC meeting could take place in the "coming days." The same information was confirmed by a Bloomberg source among cartel delegates. According to him, the meeting may take place at the beginning of next week. Informal negotiations are ongoing, another agency source said. OPEC wants to extend the deal to reduce oil production at least until June, sources in the cartel told to Reuters. In addition, the increase in quotas is also possible - that is, an additional reduction in production, if necessary. The stumbling block will again be the position of Russia, which would like to withdraw from the OPEC + agreement. However, if oil continues to trade below $ 60 per barrel, Moscow will have to stay, a source familiar with the position of the Russian Federation told Reuters.

Commodity analyst of VI Investment Will Sunchil Yun believes that the impact on global oil demand and economic growth could be more serious than during the SARS epidemic in 2003, as the role of China and Asia in the global economy has increased. The critical mark is $ 50 per barrel of WTI, he said: if prices manage to break it, there will be a risk of mass liquidation of positions in the futures market, which will fail quotes sharply down. OANDA Senior Market Analyst Jeffrey Holly notes that the outbreak coincided with the presence of very large oil reserves in the market, and if OPEC does not take emergency action, the prices may continue to slide down.

At the end of the week, Moody`s rating agency released a study in which it is not excluded that the Chinese coronavirus could have more serious consequences for the global economy than the financial crisis of 2008-2010. Agency analysts believe that, unlike the crisis that some experts had foreseen in advance, the epidemic of the virus collapsed unexpectedly for everyone and had a negative impact on some important indicators of the future development of the economy.


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