The West Texas Intermediate crude oil benchmark – which had a settlement price of $41.28 on Friday and which opened at $32.87 – one point today (9 March 2020) reached $27.34, a fall of an astonishing 33.8%.
The falls come as part of the ongoing price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia with neither willing to curb production to accommodate collapsing global demand for crude. The price falls are slowly being reflected at the petrol pump with marked drops noticed in places.
The cratering price of crude was accompanied by precipitous declines in the major stock indexes. The FTSE and DAX both closed over 7%, while the FTSE MIB fell by over 11% on the day.
At around 17.30 GMT, the Dow Jones was down just under 7%. The DJIA briefly slumped to 19.4% of February 2020 high as fears of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic grow.
Trading was briefly suspended after the opening when the index lost 7% almost instantly in a measure brought in after the 1987 Black Monday crash.