Oil prices fell sharply on Monday following a surge in new Coronavirus cases and highlighting the severe risk market volatility poses to oil dependent economies like Nigeria.
The price of Brent, the internationally traded oil benchmark fells as much 3.4% in early trading to $56.53 a barrel, pulled down by drop in equities earlier in Asia.
Brent is now just $1.53 a barrel above Nigeria’s 2020 budget benchmark of $55.
Monday’s market sell off came after Italy imposed strict quarantine across at least ten towns as authorities there are battling to contain the biggest outbreak outside Asia.
Nigeria’s 2019 Q4 GDP numbers are expected Monday and it is unlikely they will offer any relief for managers of Africa’s biggest economy where unemployment is rising further and more people falling into the poverty pit according to economists.