The biggest thing moving the market this week continues to be the China-originating coronavirus as flight cancellations pick up momentum, cutting down massively on jet fuel demand, while some analysts have predicted oil could slip dangerously close to $50 a barrel before the crisis is over. Russia has now closed its 2,600-mile border in the Far East, and airlines are suspending China services. British Airways, United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta and others are all reducing the number of or suspending flights to China.
Brazil is opting out of potential OPEC membership after all, deciding instead to go it alone in order to avoid production restrictions as it seeks to expand output.
Oil traders in Europe are noting increasing pressure on sweet crude as 1 million bpd of Libyan production remains offline for two weeks now, particularly considering that this gap in supply represents more than 20% of the Mediterranean’s refinery throughout.
Shell’s Q4 results were nothing shy of disastrous. Shell has done pretty well at beating analyst forecasts for its quarterlies, but this time it failed to live up to expectations. Its Q4 profits took a beating, falling by 48%, with earnings attributable to shareholders falling to $2.9 billion (compared to $4.8 billion a year ago). Its balance sheet carried $1.6 billion in impairment charges. Full year earnings fell by 23% to $16.5 billion. Shell also announced it would be slowing…