Oil prices hit an 18-year low amid coronavirus lockdown

U.S. President Donald Trump answers a question during the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House in Washington U.S

Meanwhile, America's Donald Trump recently stated that tarrifs would be imposed on crude imports, if he ever felt the need to protect the US energy industry from the oil price slump that caused by the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation.

The head of the International Energy Agency has said oil inventories would still rise by 15 million bpd in the second quarter even with output cuts of 10 million bpd.

Trump has, however, made no commitment to take the extraordinary step of persuading USA companies to cut output.

Referring to the two countries, Trump told reporters at the daily White House coronavirus briefing "If they don't get along, I would do tariffs, very substantial tariffs, I would absolutely do that", adding that he intends on protecting the United States oil industry.

According to Bloomberg, the Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan in a statement on Saturday said comments by Russia's President Putin laying blame on Riyadh for the end of the OPEC+ pact between the two countries in March were "fully devoid of truth". In some corners of the physical market prices have already turned negative, and traders have been putting oil into tankers at a record pace to store it at sea.

Saudi Arabia had proposed substantially cutting Russia's supply, which led to Moscow officials to altering their energy policies, perhaps even shifting to the U.S.to attain shale oil.

"We're the number one producer in the world right now", Trump said before addressing Russia's pending agreement with Saudi Arabia and OPEC.

Global benchmark Brent crude was down 4.3 per cent to trade at US$32.64 per barrel. G-20 may be an easier forum for the U.S.to embrace than OPEC.

"If the Americans don't take part, the problem that existed before for the Russians and Saudis will remain - that they cut output while the U.S. ramps it up, and that makes the whole thing impossible", said Fyodor Lukyanov, head of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy, a research group that advises the Kremlin.

Brent oil futures on 30 March fell to an nearly 18-year low close and remain down more than 50 percent from January levels amid low demand caused by the global coronavirus pandemic and the dispute between Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation as they vie for market share amid increased production.

Oil prices fell sharply on Monday after a meeting to discuss output cuts between Opec and its allies was delayed, dimming hopes of swift action to support coronavirus-ravaged energy markets. Reductions in oil output were expected to be discussed at the meeting.

Any agreement will require diplomatic agility at a time when nations are devoting massive resources to fighting the pandemic itself. As oil prices drop, many heavily leveraged US energy companies face bankruptcies and workers are at risk of layoffs. Yet the US president has also said he's confident there'll be an agreement between Moscow and Riyadh to cut production.

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