March 06, 2020: World oil prices, already slumping on coronavirus fears, extended losses to more than 5.0 percent Friday on reports Russia wants to delay deeper output cuts recommended by its OPEC allies.
In London morning deals, Brent North Sea crude dived to $47.02 per barrel, the lowest levels since July 2017. WTI tumbled to $43.28 — the lowest since late 2018.
Prices recovered some of the losses, although Brent was still down 4.4 percent and WTI 4.3 percent lower on its level late Thursday in New York.
The sudden plunge Friday came with all eyes on Russia at the gathering of OPEC countries and non-cartel producers in Vienna.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is hoping to convince Moscow to back drastic production cuts to counter a predicted plunge in global oil demand triggered by the coronavirus outbreak.
On Thursday, ministers from the OPEC grouping recommended a combined cut of 1.5 million barrels per day.