COVID-19: World oil prices plunge over 5%

European stock markets plunge over 3.5% on #coronavirus

Milan's major stock index has fallen more than 3% in early trading

As the COVID-19 spread further to more countries, World oil prices, already slumping on coronavirus outbreak fears, extended losses to more than 5.0 percent Friday on reports Russia wants to delay deeper output cuts recommended by its OPEC allies.

In London morning deals, Brent North Sea crude dived to $47.02 per barrel, the lowest levels since July 2017. WTI tumbled to $43.28 -- the lowest since late 2018.

Prices recovered some of the losses, although Brent was still down 4.4 percent and WTI 4.

3 percent lower on its level late Thursday in New York.

The sudden plunge Friday came with all eyes on Russia at the gathering of OPEC countries and non-cartel producers in Vienna.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is hoping to convince Moscow to back drastic production cuts to counter a predicted plunge in global oil demand triggered by the coronavirus outbreak.

On Thursday, ministers from the OPEC grouping recommended a combined cut of 1.5 million barrels per day.

In Italy, Milan's major stock index fell more than 3 percent in early trading on Friday as investors continued to worry about the economic fallout of the coronavirus in Italy, hit with the biggest outbreak in Europe.

The FTSE-Mib index was down 3.1 percent to 20,890 points around 0840 GMT, with other major European indices also down over two percent.

Generally, European stock markets plunged further on heightened panic over coronavirus and its predicted devastating damage to world economic growth.

Paris slumped 3.9 percent, Frankfurt tumbled 3.7 percent, Madrid shed 3.4 percent and London retreated 3.3 percent by 1030 GMT.

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