Oil prices plummet on OPEC tangle, coronavirus fears

Oil prices plummet on OPEC tangle, coronavirus fears

Oil prices plunged 30 percent over the weekend as suppliers squabbled over production and amid fears about the economic influence of the coronavirus.

Both Russia and Saudi Arabia pledged to keep pumping oil rather than cutting back supplies to keep prices afloat. Last week, the OPEC oil cartel failed to agree on terms of supply cuts, leading to a price war among member states.

Prices were on track Monday for the largest daily decline since the Gulf War in 1991.

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The supply shock comes as coronavirus continues to spread globally, lowering expectations for robust economic activity through the year.

While low oil prices can be good news to consumers at the gas pump, they can also send shock waves through markets in oil-producing nations like the United States.

The drop in oil prices hit markets hard Monday, triggering a halt in trading for 15 minutes after the S&P 500 Index plummeted 7 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down more than 1,800 points, also a 7 percent drop.