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Pedestrians wearing face masks cross a road in Hong Kong on Jan. 27. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Crude oil prices fell to their lowest levels in over three months Monday as traders weigh how much the spread of the coronavirus will eat into demand because travel and economic activity is curtailed.

Why it matters: The sharp drop, which follows declines last week, shows how the spreading virus is rippling through global markets.

  • Brent crude has declined by roughly $7-per-barrel over the last week and is currently trading around $58.29.
  • "I think we’re close to peak hysteria, so yes the move is justified. We’re in full panic mode," Global Risk Management trader Edward Marshall tells the Wall Street Journal.

The intrigue: OPEC and allied producers "have held preliminary discussions about making deeper cuts to oil production if the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak keeps weighing on crude prices," the Financial Times reports this morning.

What they're saying: Saudi Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman sought to downplay concerns about the virus having a major effect on oil consumption.

  • "[T]he current impact on global markets, including oil and other commodities, is primarily driven by psychological factors and extremely negative expectations adopted by some market participants despite its very limited impact on global oil demand," he said in a statement.

Go deeper: Coronavirus fears start to weigh on global business and stock markets

Go deeper

Biden taps Brian Deese to lead National Economic Council

Brian Deese (L) in 2015 with special envoy for climate change Todd Stern (C) and Secretary of State John Kerry (R). Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden announced Thursday that he has selected Brian Deese, a former Obama climate aide and head of sustainable investing at BlackRock, to serve as director of the National Economic Council.

Why it matters: The influential position does not require Senate confirmation, but Deese's time working for BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager and an investor in fossil fuels, has made him a target of criticism from progressives.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
30 mins ago - Economy & Business

The places regulation does not reach

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Financial regulation is not exactly simple anywhere in the world. But one country stands out for the sheer amount of complexity and confusion in its regulatory regime — the U.S.

Why it matters: Important companies fall through the cracks, largely unregulated, while others contend with a vast array of regulatory bodies, none of which are remotely predictable.

1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Boeing gets huge 737 Max order from Ryanair, boosting hope for quick rebound

Ryanair low cost airline Boeing 737-800 aircraft as seen over the runway. Photo by Nik Oiko/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Dublin-based Ryanair said it would add 75 more planes to an existing order for Boeing's 737 Max airplanes, a giant vote of confidence as Boeing seeks to revive sales of its best-selling plane after a 20-month safety ban following two fatal crashes.

The big picture: Ryanair's big order, on the heels of breakthrough vaccine news, is also a promising sign that the devastated airline industry might recover from the global pandemic sooner than expected.