Code: 900501 A

Oil prices continue to fall, charging toward a new 18-year low as gloomy demand outlooks persist even after a historic production cut.

West Texas Intermediate crude fell as much as 13% to $17.31 per barrel on Friday. International benchmark Brent crude declined 0.9% to $27.58 at intraday lows before rallying.

Oil prices have declined 20% this week even after OPEC on Sunday agreed to a historic production cut in an effort to stabilize the industry ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic, which has cratered global demand. The group said that it will begin slashing production by 9.7 million barrels per day starting May 1.

Still, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate economies around the world, it appears that those cuts won't be enough to prop up oil prices. Now, a number of dismal outlooks are pulling oil prices down further.

In a Wednesday report, the International Energy Agency estimated that in April, global demand will fall by 29 million barrels per day. One day later, OPEC itself said that global oil demand will fall to a 30-year low in the second quarter as coronavirus continues to weigh on the commodity.

On Friday, the industry was dealt another blow. WTI extended losses after China's economy suffered its first contraction in 28 years. In the first quarter of 2020, gross domestic product in China fell 6.8% as the coronavirus pandemic sent a number of economic indicators lower.

China is the biggest importer of oil, meaning that any slowdown in demand from the country will have a negative impact on prices.

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Opec Oil prices China's economy coronavirus outbreaks coronavirus epidemic
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