OPEC and ally Russia to discuss oil price fall after coronavirus epidemic

OPEC will assemble experts in a "joint technical committee" in Vienna. (File photo: AP)

OPEC members and their ally Russia will convene a technical meeting this week to analyze oil price falls since the outbreak of a coronavirus epidemic, a source close to the cartel said on Sunday.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will assemble experts in a "joint technical committee" in Vienna on Tuesday and Wednesday, the source told AFP.

Crude prices have suffered since the outbreak of the virus also known as corona as worries about its impact on China's economic growth have taken hold.

China is the world's second-biggest economy and a huge consumer of crude.

US benchmark oil contract WTI has fallen by around 18 percent over the past month.

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia said this week that the impact of the virus on oil demand was "extremely limited" but that the kingdom was closely following events.

A big part of the impact of global markets was "driven by psychological factors" and "pessimistic views," according to Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman.

Russian energy minister Alexander Novak, seemed less sanguine, however, saying on Friday that the virus crisis could lead to lower demand for hydrocarbon fuels.

The 13-member OPEC cartel regularly sits down with 10 non-members led by Russia to decide on measures to influence the oil price.

OPEC and its allies in December extended an existing agreement to curb crude oil production to keep prices from plunging.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:05 - GMT 07:05
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