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Oil Prices Plunge On Demand Worries

Oil prices fell more than three percent on Monday towards a one-week low amid renewed concerns about crude demand being pinched by the economic impact of the coronavirus.

Benchmark Brent crude slumped 3.6 percent to $55.87 a barrel, while U.S. crude futures were down 3.4 percent at $51.56.

The virus has now killed 2,592 people in China, which has reported 77,150 cases. The rapid spread of the deadly virus in several countries outside China left investors concerned about a hit to demand.

South Korea raised its coronavirus alert to the “highest level” for the first time in a decade, following a rapid spike in cases over the weekend. The total number of cases so far in the country total about 763.

Italy’s sovereign bonds dropped as the country became Europe’s epicenter for virus cases over the weekend.

Iran has confirmed 43 cases and eight deaths, with most of the infections in the Shi’ite Muslim holy city of Qom. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Turkey and Afghanistan imposed travel and immigration restrictions on the Islamic Republic.

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