10 Mar 2020

Petrol prices drop further as global oil market falls

9:25 am on 10 March 2020

Petrol prices are dropping again today as world oil prices slumped overnight amid a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

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Photo: RNZ

Global oil prices suffered their biggest daily fall since the 1991 Gulf War.

Saudi Arabia and Russia both said they would raise production at the weekend after a three-year pact between them and other major oil producers to limit supply fell apart on Friday.

Moscow had refused to support OPEC in making a deeper oil cut to cope with the substantial fall in demand caused by the impact of coronavirus on travel and economic activity.

In New Zealand, Z Energy has cut petrol prices by 7 cents a litre across most of its Caltex and Z retail service stations.

It follows a price cut yesterday at most of its sites.

"Ninety percent of our service stations changed their prices, in some cases up to six cents a litre, yesterday," chief executive Mike Bennetts said.

Before today's price cut he said Wellington prices were 10 cents a litre lower than they were a week ago.

The slump in oil prices overnight triggered another day of heavy losses on Wall Street's main stock indexes as the rapid spread of coronavirus amplified fears of a global recession.

If losses hold, Monday would be the biggest one-day percentage decline for Brent crude and US West Texas Intermediate crude since January 1991, when oil prices fell a third at the outset of the US Gulf War.

Bennetts said every $US1 in crude oil price typically translates to about one cent a litre at the pump in New Zealand.

The International Energy Agency said on Monday oil demand was set to contract in 2020 for the first time since 2009.

The agency cut its annual forecast and said that demand would contract by 90,000 bpd in 2020 from 2019.

- RNZ / Reuters

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