OPEC considers production cuts as coronavirus impacts China's oil demand
OPEC's possible responses to the spreading coronavirus that's hurting oil demand and prices are starting to come into view.
Why it matters: Besides killing more than 360 people so far, the outbreak is severely curtailing airline and economic activity in China, the world's largest oil importer and second-largest oil consumer.
- Brent crude prices have tumbled by roughly $10 per barrel in the last two weeks. It's currently trading in the low-$56 range.
Driving the news: Reuters reports that OPEC and allied producers could deepen their existing production-limiting pact by 500,000 barrels per day.
- The Wall Street Journal has the same info, but also reports: "Another option being considered would involve a temporary cut of 1 million barrels a day by the Saudis to jolt oil markets."
The big picture: This new Bloomberg piece, citing people with "inside knowledge" of China's energy sector, gets to the scary and immense scale of what's happening...
- "Chinese oil demand has dropped by about three million barrels a day, or 20% of total consumption, as the coronavirus squeezes the economy."
- It's "probably the largest demand shock the oil market has suffered since the global financial crisis of 2008 to 2009," they report.
What's next: A technical monitoring committee for OPEC+, which is the alliance between the cartel, Russia and allied producers, is slated to meet this week, per multiple reports.
- A higher level emergency meeting could occur later this month, several outlets report.