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Oil prices in free fall, lowest levels in more than a year

Oil prices continued their fall on Thursday, affected by the spread of the epidemic of new coronavirus and the fears it brings about the world consumption of ‘black gold’.

At 9 am Friday, a barrel of Brent North Sea crude was worth $50.40, falling to the lowest level in more than a year, triggering a crash in the energy markets.

The spread of the virus raises fears “of a global slowdown, a weakening of consumer confidence and a decrease in travel, which weighs on demand and therefore prices,” said Michael Hewson of CMC Markets.

The coronavirus now affects more than 45 countries worldwide, with a provisional assessment of some 3,600 contaminations and more than 50 deaths outside of China.

China, where the virus appeared in December, remains the country most affected by the epidemic with 78,000 people infected, including 2,744 fatalities.

Energy markets are anticipating the outcome of an OPEC meeting scheduled in Vienna next week to be decisive in halting the fall in prices.

Quoted by Russian agencies, Russia’s Minister of Energy Alexandre Novak said on Thursday he was “very satisfied with the cooperation with Saudi Arabia” and made assurances Russia “wants to continue to cooperate more not only in within the framework of the OPEC+ members, but also bilaterally “with Riyadh.

The Brussels Times