For the first time in 20 years, AAA has NOT issued their Memorial Day travel forecast since the economic data utilized to create the forecast has been affected by COVID-19. Even with states reopening, many Americans are choosing to play it safe and stay home. The AAA annual forecast that estimates how many people will travel over this holiday weekend, plans to make a comeback next year.
I can almost guarantee that the answer to “where are you going on vacation?” will not be a “staycation” anytime soon. At this point in our stay at home orders I am sure we are all daydreaming of a trip of any sort with a pal or a confidant, so here’s the million-dollar question, will you be flying or driving to your destination? If your email inbox is anything like mine, it is currently flooded with airline offers that have attractive pricing to get passengers on flights, however it is uncertain when travel and tourism will return to “normal” after COVID-19.
Over the weekend, Italy announced that they were planning to quarantine the northern region of Lombardy as they fought to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The government put measures in place, such as fines, to prevent people from entering and leaving the region until at least April 3rd. They also imposed a decree that banned all forms of public gatherings and events, such as, closing pubs, clubs, gyms, and urged residents to remain in their homes.
With global chatter circling around the latest mass scale respiratory ailment, the coronavirus, there is global glut of petroleum fuels. Like SARS, in 2003, the coronavirus is thought to spread through respiratory droplets being transmitted form one person to another (i.e., sneeze or cough). With the potential for person to person transmission being so high, major travel has been hindered by the fear of either spreading or acquiring the new virus. With more than 17,000 cases already and growing, there is now concerns on how to handle the temporary glut of fuels in the market.
This morning, WTI crude oil prices traded as low as $52.13/barrel, the lowest level since October of last year. With threats of the Coronavirus spreading, travel and trade have become a factor in this sell off. With the fear of the disease spreading until there is a vaccine, traders forecast travel will be subdued, meaning oil demand will decrease and thus so do oil prices.