Crude oil prices declined sharply on Monday amid rising concerns about global economy and the outlook for energy demand due to the coronavirus outbreak.
West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures ended down $0.75, or about 1.5%, at $49.57 a barrel, the lowest settlement for a front-month contract since early January 2019.
Brent crude futures declined $1.14, or about 2%, to $53.33 a barrel.
On Friday, WTI crude oil futures for March ended down $0.63, or about 1.2%, at $50.32 a barrel. Oil futures shed about 2.4% last week, losing for a fifth successive weak.
Worries about excess crude supply have risen after Russia said on Friday that it needs more time to decide whether to join any additional oil output cuts recommended by a technical committee from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies. The committee had advised further output cuts until the end of the second quarter.
Energy demand outlook is weak due to rising concerns over the severity of the coronavirus, which has infected more than 40,600 people globally.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus voiced concern over the spread from people with no travel history to China, saying “we may only be seeing the tip of the iceberg.”