Coronavirus fears have hammered the stock market this week. But few industries have been hit harder than the oil market.
According to CNN, US crude oil was tradining at $33.51 a barrel — one of the worst say for oil prices since 1991.
Coronavirus fears have had a direct impact on oil prices due to the fear of a worldwide economic downturn — more people self-quarantining means fewer people using gasoline to travel, whether by car or plane. An economic downturn would also slow the amount of cargo on the road and in the air.
Compounding the impact is the location of the outbreak. According to CNBC, China — ground zero for the coronavirus outbreak — is the largest consumer of crude oil in the world.
With the outlook on future demand for oil sinking, the price of oil will sink along with it. And while lower oil prices mean cheap gas when filling up the tank, CNBC reports that it's a "warning sign for the global economy."