Oil prices fell for a third session on Wednesday with U.S. crude futures tumbling to an 18-year low as travel and social lockdowns sparked by the coronavirus epidemic knocked the outlook for demand.
U.S. crude was down $2.51 cents, or over 9%, at $24.44 per barrel by 1219 GMT, having earlier fallen to $24.42, its lowest since mid-2002.
The last time oil was trading that low, China had only begun its rise as a major global economic power that propelled the world’s oil consumption to record highs in subsequent years.
Brent crude was trading down $1.39, or nearly 5%, at $27.34 a barrel, after dropping to $27.31, its lowest since early 2016.
“The oil demand collapse from the spreading coronavirus looks increasingly sharp,” Goldman Sachs said in a note forecasting a fall in the price of Brent to as low as $20 in the second quarter, a level not seen since early 2002.