NEW OR NOT, FINANCE MINISTER ZAFRUL’S TOTAL SILENCE ONLY SHOWS UP MUHYIDDIN’S FRIGHTENING LACK OF JUDGMENT IN PICKING BACKDOOR CABINET: OIL PRICES CRASH AGAIN – NEARER & NEARER TO KEY US$20 PER BARREL – AS WORLD MARKETS REACT FURTHER TO COVID-19

OIL prices fell at the open in Asia todoy after a trillion-dollar Senate proposal to help the coronavirus-hit American economy was defeated and death tolls soared across Europe and the US.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate initially tumbled more than 3% but then pulled back some ground to trade 1.5% lower, at US$22 (RM97) a barrel.

Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell 4.9% to US$25 a barrel.

Prices have fallen to multi-year lows in recent weeks as lockdowns and travel restrictions to fight the virus hit demand, and top producers Saudi Arabia and Russia engage in a price war.

The bill had proposed funding for American families, thousands of shuttered or suffering businesses and the nation’s critically under-equipped hospitals.

Coronavirus deaths soared across Europe and the United States at the weekend despite heightened restrictions.

The death toll from the virus – which has upended lives and closed businesses and schools across the planet – surged to more than 14,300 yesterday, according to an AFP tally.

AxiCorp chief markets strategist Stephen Innes said that “total demand devastation” had set it.

“Oil markets collapsed out of the gate this morning as prices react… to stringent containment lockdown measures,” he said.

– AFP

.