Baghdad, Apr 1 (efe-epa).- Iraq’s income from crude oil in March fell by 40 percent, the government announced on Wednesday, as demand plummets amid a global coronavirus pandemic and a pricing war between Russia and Saudi Arabia.
The Arab country exported over 105 million barrels in March, nearly seven million more than the previous month, the spokesperson for the Iraqi oil ministry Essam Jihad said.
The price of crude, however, fell to $28.436 compared to $51.374 in February, triggering a 40 percent loss in revenue.
According to the official figures, oil exports make up 90 percent of Iraq’s income.
In addition to the uncertainty generated by the coronavirus crisis and the subsequent measures imposed around the globe to tackle the pandemic, a dispute between Saudi Arabia and Russia has accelerated the fall in prices.
Saudi Arabia and Russia failed to reach an agreement to cut oil production as Moscow refused to reduce output by 1.5 million barrels per day as per a deal between OPEC members that expired 31 March.
Investors hoped that the diplomatic efforts by the United States to press Saudi Arabia to stabilize the markets and talk with Russia would help boost oil prices.
The price of crude increased yesterday after talks between US President Donald Trump and his Russia counterpart Vladimir Putin, in which they agreed that the relevant officials would discuss a plan to stabilize the energy markets.
The outbreak emerged in Wuhan, the capital city of the Chinese province of Hubei, in December.
It has since spread to 177 countries, infecting more than 900,000 people, of which around 191,000 have recovered, and killed more than 45,000.
China has reported more than 82,000 cases, around 76,000 recoveries and 3,300 deaths.
Global hotspots of infection have sprung up in the United States, Italy, Spain, which have all surpassed the Asian country on the number of confirmed cases.
Iran is the worst-hit country in the Middle East with 47,593 cases and 3,036 deaths, while neighboring Iraq has reported just 694 cases, with 50 deaths, according to data provided by John Hopkins University. EFE-EPA