For years to many of us, the day after Thanksgiving otherwise known as “Black Friday” has been the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season. Consumers search ads sent by retailers to find the best deals, plan the big day in advance in hopes to score the season’s hottest items. We’ve even waited in line to get into stores on Thanksgiving Day. In recent years, some retailers have pushed the start of holiday shopping a bit earlier, but have we ever seen it start THIS early?
Yesterday, governor Tom Wolf made an announcement to order all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania to close physical locations to slow down the spread of COVID-19. The deadline for these businesses to close was 8:00 p.m. on 3/19/2020.
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.
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.
Very little price change has occurred with crude oil prices on Presidents’ Day after OPEC + has not yet decided to impose further production cuts to offset demand concerns caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
In an attempt to curtail the downward plunge of global oil prices, Russia is considering supporting cuts among OPEC and its partners. On Thursday, Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s top diplomat, confirmed Russia’s support for production cuts following a conversation between President Putin and the King of Saudi Arabia. However, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Friday that Russia needs a few days analyze the oil market and clarify its position.
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.
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.