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Oil Prices Fall As Trump Urges People To Stay Home

President Donald Trump announced on Monday that the U.S. government would be ramping up its efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak and ease the economic impact it has caused for millions of Americans, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average having fallen by over 20 percent, and the price of oil dropping by as much as 50 percent since the beginning of the year.

After receiving much criticism for his lackluster response to the coronavirus pandemic, it appears that President Trump is finally beginning to take the outbreak seriously.

“We have an invisible enemy,” the president said at his press conference Monday evening, adding, “This is a bad one. This is a very bad one.” The president urged Americans to avoid social gatherings of 10 people or more, while encouraging the elderly population to stay at home entirely. He also called for people to avoid eating and drinking at bars and restaurants, and to work or attend school from home if at all possible.

Trump also painted a rather gloomy picture, suggesting that the crisis could last until July or August, and even send the nation into recession.

“Each and every one of us has a critical role to play in stopping the spread and transmission of the virus,” the president said. “If everyone makes this change or these critical changes and sacrifices now, we will rally together as one nation, and we will defeat the virus, and we’re going to have a big celebration altogether. With several weeks of focused action, we can turn the corner and turn it quickly.”

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President Trump followed up on Tuesday morning, highlighting a new plan to help put some cash back into the hands of consumers.  In addition to Trump’s proposal to cut payroll taxes, the administration is also mulling over the possibility of sending out stimulus checks to all Americans. It is estimated that Trump’s team’s proposal could cost nearly $1 trillion.

Related: OPEC+ Scraps Meeting As Oil War Heats Up

“We’re looking at sending checks to Americans immediately,” U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said at Tuesday’s White House briefing. “Americans need cash now... and I mean now in the next two weeks.”

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Impact on Oil

As the price war between the world’s largest oil producers rages on, even the positive economic news wasn’t enough to lift crude prices up, with Saudi Arabia announcing that it will be increasing production once again.

West Texas Intermediate had fallen by 3 percent at the time of writing, dropping to $27.82 while Brent had fallen by 2.71 percent, pushing its price to $30.83 per barrel.

By Michael Kern for Oilprice.com

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