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Petrol, Diesel to Get Cheaper as Crude Oil Tumbles to 13-Month Low due to Coronavirus Spread

Fearing that rise in cases of coronavirus may hamper the crude oil demand across the globe, the crude oil prices slumped to a 13-month low to about $52/barrel on Thursday. State fuel retailers usually calculate the domestic petrol and diesel prices daily by taking a 15-day moving average of international rates of fuels which follow the crude oil trajectory and considering the exchange rate. Since mid-January, petrol prices dropped by INR 3.74 a litre and diesel by INR 4.41 a litre. Petrol prices went down to INR 71.96 per litre and diesel to INR 64.65 per litre in Delhi on Thursday. As per recent analysis, crude oil has tumbled 12% in eight days as coronavirus cases rise in China and emerge in several other countries like Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Greece and Iran. To stop the spread of virus, Japan announced suspension of classes in schools whereas Saudi Arabia has put a halt on religious visits. The US recently reported its first such case while Pakistan and Brazil too have detected cases. India satisfies about 85 per cent of its crude oil demand through imports and hence plummeting oil prices will prove to be beneficial to satisfy its growing energy requirements. Lower oil prices will keep a check on the country’s inflation rate, lower down the fuel subsidy rates and ensure better availability of resources with the state for public spending. As per the analysts, the month of February will record the worst hit in the global oil demand since the Great Recession.