Crude oil prices took a nosedive today after President Donald Trump tweeted late last night that both he and the first lady had tested positive for Covid-19.
Brent crude slipped below $40 in Asian and European trading, and West Texas Intermediate stayed below $38 a barrel, after falling earlier this week.
Oil was already on the decline earlier this week, weighed down by renewed fears about demand recovery as new Covid-19 cases continued rising fast in Europe, the U.S., and India. The global total passed 34 million this week, up by a million from a week earlier. The death toll from the disease passed the 1-million mark this week as well.
In more bearish news, the U.S. Congress continued failing to strike a bipartisan deal on further financial stimulus. The only development in this direction was the House approving a Democrat-proposed bill for an additional $2.2-trillion in stimulus that is likely to hit a wall in the Senate.
As a result of legislators’ failure to reach a bipartisan deal, U.S. airlines began preparing for furloughs and layoffs that could affect as much as 45,000 people.
In yet more bad news, OPEC’s oil production rose in September, by 160,000 bpd, according to preliminary figures from a Reuters survey. The increase came from Libya and Iran, both exempt from the production-cutting deal that OPEC agreed on earlier this year to prop up prices.
Libya, which last month restarted production at three oil export terminals and several fields, is now pumping 270,000 bpd, according to an unnamed source who spoke to Reuters. A month ago, the country was only producing less than 100,000 bpd.
OPEC export data was also bearish: according to the latest figures, the cartel exported 18.2 million bpd last month, versus 17.53 million bpd in August. OPEC+ exported 22.84 million bpd in September, up from 22.11 million bpd in August.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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