OPEC to Call Emergency Meeting as Coronavirus Drives Oil Prices Down

OPEC members are considering calling an emergency meeting in February, as oil costs sink on concern the coronavirus epidemic will hit demand.

Algerian Power Minister Mohamed Arkab said the producer group’s meeting scheduled for March is likely to be postponed to February. A decision could also be taken “in the coming days,” he stated. He presently holds the rotating post of OPEC Prez, giving him the authority to convene emergency meetings in session with the Secretary-Normal and other members.

One official from an OPEC member stated separately it could happen as soon as next week, and another buoyed mid-February as a date. Still, a number of delegates stated they had been unaware of talks to carry the March 5-6 meeting forward.

There’s good reason to be skeptical in regards to the prospective change of dates. If the group convenes an emergency meeting without asserting new measures, the disappointment among traders might push costs even lower.

It already unveiled deeper manufacturing cuts simply over a month in the past, and as these are put in force, Saudi Arabia — which has borne the best burden in decreasing supply – has slashed output to the bottom since 2014.

Any meeting would most likely include non-members such as Russia, as the newest production targets have been set in concert with those allies. One delegate mentioned the availability of Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak could be a factor in deciding whether an early meeting could be called.

Novak’s schedule has been a barrier to meetings in the past, and he is due to take part in a Russian Investment Forum from February 12 to 14 in the coastal resort of Sochi.