February provided an early warning that the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus in China was slowing oil and fuel demand in the country, which accounts for more than 10% of global demand.

First came a wave of “force majeure” pleas relating to supply contracts, predominantly for liquefied natural gas (LNG). Then listed oil and gas majors such as Total and BP warned of a hit to global demand in the order of 500,000 barrels per day (bpd). Finally, the Opec+ countries announced the conclusions of their joint technical committee meeting, which advised the group to make a further 600,000 bpd cut in March to keep markets balanced...

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