US crude futures in focus as coronavirus dents demand

Workers extracting oil from oil wells in the Permian Basin in Midland, Texas on May 1, 2018.

Benjamin Lowy | Getty Images

U.S. crude prices plunged in the morning of Asian trading hours on Monday as traders continued to fret over a slump in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic, with one analyst describing the situation stateside as “quite dire.”

Prices on the May contract for West Texas Intermediate crude futures dropped 14.18% to $15.68 per barrel. Meanwhile, international benchmark Brent crude futures edged 1.07% lower to $27.78 per barrel.

ANZ’s Daniel Hynes told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday that one of the reasons behind the “crater” in U.S. crude prices was the impending expiration of the May futures contract, set to happen on Tuesday, according to Refinitiv. The June WTI contract fell 5.63% to $23.62 per barrel.

Hynes, who is a senior commodity strategist at ANZ, struck a sombre

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Japan exports slump as coronavirus hits U.S., Chinese demand

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s exports slumped the most in nearly four years in March as U.S.-bound shipments, including cars, fell at the fastest rate since 2011, highlighting the damage the coronavirus pandemic is inflicting on global demand and trade.

FILE PHOTO: Containers are pictured at an industrial port in Tokyo, Japan, May 22, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

Monday’s bleak data underscored the challenges Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government faces in dealing with a collapse in activity that is expected to send the global economy into its deepest slump since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

After a jump in virus cases, Abe expanded a state of emergency last week to include the entire country, which gave authorities more power to push people to stay home and businesses to close. Japan has reported more than 9,000 infections and about 200 deaths.

Adding to worries the world’s third-largest economy is sliding into

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German auto industry calls for incentives to boost green car demand

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Germany’s auto industry association VDA on Thursday joined a chorus of demands from auto industry executives and politicians calling for more incentives to revive demand for low emission vehicles in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

FILE PHOTO: A robot welds car components in a production line at the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg, Germany March 1, 2019. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

Measures to curb the movement of people, imposed to contain the spread of the virus, have hit car sales hard, leading Germany’s Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) on Thursday to abandon its full year outlook and issue a profit warning.

As Germany prepares to ease lockdown measures which will allow car dealerships to reopen, lobby group VDA said demand needed to a boost.

“There is currently no reason for optimism. It is likely that economic support measures will be necessary in order to revive overall economic demand and, in

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Indian gold demand could hit three-decade low as lockdown hits festivals, weddings

MUMBAI (Reuters) – India’s gold consumption in 2020 could fall as much as 50% from a year ago to the lowest level in nearly three decades as a nationwide lockdown has closed jewellery stores during key festivals and the wedding season.

FILE PHOTO: A saleswoman shows a gold earring to customers at a jewellery showroom in Mumbai, India, July 21, 2015. REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade

The drop in consumption by the world’s second-biggest gold buyer could limit a rally in global prices, which hit a more than seven-year high earlier this month. The fall in demand could also narrow India’s trade deficit and support the faltering rupee.

“We have never seen such kind of demand destruction happening. Sales are zero during the lockdown,” N. Anantha Padmanaban, chairman of the All India Gem and Jewellery Domestic Council told Reuters.

He said India’s gold consumption in 2020 could fall to 350 tonnes to 400

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