OPEC to Try to Stem Oil Price Plunge Amid COVID-19 Slowdown

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries meets Thursday in Vienna as they weigh how to react to a sharp drop in global oil demand due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus.

The extraordinary two-day meeting will see OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, and its allies in the so-called OPEC+ group — foremost among them Russia — discuss how to halt the sharp fall in oil prices in the past two months as the epidemic has spread.

At their last meeting in December, the producers agreed to cut production by 500,000 barrels per day, with Saudi Arabia offering a further 400,000 barrels of “voluntary” cuts.

Prices were already under pressure at that point from abundant reserves and weak global growth.

The two benchmarks for oil prices, Brent in Europe and WTI for the US, have fallen around 30 percent since early January and have tested their lowest levels for more than year.

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