14 February 2020:
The coronavirus (now officially called COVID-19 by the World Health Organization) continues to spread, albeit primarily among the unfortunate population of mainland China. When we talked about the coronavirus in our Weekly Opinion three weeks ago, officials had counted 600 infected people and 17 deaths. The most recent numbers are 60,360 people diagnosed and 1,370 patients that have died.
The hope is that the virus can be contained to some extent and that a vaccine will be developed before COVID-19 turns into a global pandemic. At some point, the arrival of warmer weather may also slow the spread of the virus. In the meantime, the tanker markets are scrambling to adjust to a world that has changed from a booming freight environment with positive momentum to a depressed market with uncertain prospects almost overnight.
While many pundits have given their views on the (detrimental) impact on global oil demand, we will concentrate in our Weekly Opinion on the implications of the COVID-19 virus on the supply side of the tanker market.
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