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Brent crude plunges to 18-year low as oil slump rattles markets

  • Coronavirus: Covid-19 recession drives US crude oil into negative territory.
    Brent crude plunges 25%. Oil price at 18-year low as turmoil persists. Coronavirus: Covid-19 recession drives US crude oil into negative territory.
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World
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Economy
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Coronavirus:
Covid-19 recession drives US crude oil into negative territory.
Brent crude plunges 25%.
Oil price at 18-year low as turmoil persists.

In another alarming development, the Brent crude oil price has now plunged to an 18-year low.

The price of a barrel of Brent Crude - the UK benchmark for oil - has slipped below $20, its lowest level since 2002.

The close to 20% slump follows negative prices being recorded for a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the benchmark for US oil.

Negative oil prices on Monday were a "quirk", says one market expert.

The price of US oil - which slumped to minus $37 a barrel at one point - was produced by a trading deadline and is now back to a positive figure.

Brent (sourced from the North Sea) for delivery in June is trading at just $19 per barrel, down 25% today alone, following the slump in US crude oil prices below zero last night.

That’s its weakest level since early 2002, when the world economy had weakened after the dot-com bubble and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Earlier today, the former boss of BP predicted prices will say low for some time. John Browne told the BBC the current situation reminds him of the 1980s oil glut.

With demand low, supply high, and storage full -- prices will remain weak, Browne explained:

“The prices will be very low and I think they will remain low and very volatile for some considerable time.

There is still a lot of oil being produced that is going into storage and not being used.

European stock markets are falling deeper into the red, as traders prepare for a rocky start to trading on Wall Street.

In London the FTSE 100 index is currently down 2.3%, or 134 points, to 5678. That takes it back to Friday morning’s levels, before hopes of a coronavirus treatment breakthrough sparked a rally.

Mining companies are among the top fallers, with Glencore and Anglo American down 6%. That follows falls in commodity prices, as investors anticipate weak economic demand.

Oil producers BP and Royal Dutch Shell are still down around 4% too.

The Dow Jones industrial average is currently down 2.5%, or around 600 points, in pre-market trading -- which would match Monday’s falls.