As we enter the end of our winter season in the Northeast, the mild winter combined with global oversupply fears has caused liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices to plummet and the worst may not be over.
On the morning of Monday, January 6, 2020, WTI crude oil was nearing $64/bbl. As of 10:31 a.m. EST on Thursday, February 27, 2020, WTI crude oil was trading at $46.36/bbl. The shocking effects of the coronavirus fear continue to decimate global markets, particularly oil markets. Fortune.com aptly points out that the coronavirus has done to the oil industry what the U.S. and China trade war, strikes on Saudi oilfields, Libyan supply outages, and a near war between the U.S. and Iran-could not. The virus has thrown traders and analysts into complete turmoil.
The sharp decline in oil demand from China due to the coronavirus is causing oil cargoes to be stranded off the country’s coast and across Asia. Last week, OPEC lowered its forecast for global oil demand by nearly a quarter million barrels per day as the pandemic of the coronavirus has crippled fuel consumption in China. Demand from China, the world’s largest importer of oil, has dropped by three million barrels per day which is twenty percent of Chinese consumption.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell provides twice-a-year updates to Congress regarding the outlook for the U.S. economic growth. Today he will be testifying before Congress and the expectations are for a positive update.
China has seen a large decrease in the demand of gasoline and Jet fuel stemming from the deadly outbreak of the Coronavirus and the subsequent travel restrictions. Chinese refineries have been responsible for taking a third of all Latin American produced crude. Brazil is the largest exporter of crude into China and mainly supply the independent Chinese refineries. The Coronavirus death toll has climbed to 170 and an addition 8,000 people are infected there is an obvious fear surrounding the virus. The fear of a global outbreak has led to OPEC announcement to move up their March meeting to attempt to help correct the oil market.