Global stocks and oil prices tumbled Wednesday after the International Monetary Fund said the world’s economy will suffer its worst year since the Great Depression of the 1930s due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The agency that advises nations on energy use, expects the slide in demand to be the most intense this month, calling it a “Black April” for the energy market.
The price of oil hit a new 18-year low the International Energy Agency said demand will drop by 9.3 million barrels per day in 2020 overall. Demand in April will hit its lowest since 1995, it said.
The drop came despite an agreement over the weekend among OPEC and other oil producers to cut output to reflect collapsing demand.
Indexes in London and Frankfurt were down about 2% and benchmarks in Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney closed lower. Wall Street futures were down by over 1.5%.
Benchmark U.S. crude lost 40 cents to $19.71 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, declined $1.02 to $28.58 per barrel in London.
The IMF said this year’s global economic output will shrink by 3%, a bigger loss than 2009’s 0.1% decline during the financial crisis. That was a sharp reverse from the Fund’s January forecast of 3.3% growth before the virus prompted governments to shut down factories, travel and other industries.
“The IMF forecast a deep economic winter,” said Hayaki Narita of Mizuho Bank in a report.
The IMF’s chief economist, Gita Gopinath, said the loss to global gross domestic product, the broadest gauge of economic output, could amount to $9 trillion, or more than the economies of Germany and Japan combined.