By Michael Baxter, Fresh Business Thinking

The price of oil fell below zero today by one measure, but there was good news on Covid-19 infections.

The West Texas Intermediate oil price, one of the two most closely watched oil price indexes, fell to minus $47 a barrel at one point today. To put that in context, in 2008 this particular measure of oil went close to $150 a barrel.

Brent Crude oil fell to just under $20, before rising shortly.

The idea that oil should be priced at less than zero seems unthinkable, indeed it has never happened before. But produers were being forced to pay buyers to take oil off them, thanks to saturated storage capacity.

The extraordinary fall in the oil price is a function of the weak global economy, as demand for oil crashes.

There was, however, good news on the number of new Covid-19 infections. Angela Maclean, Deputy chief scientific officer Angela McLean, said that the curve tracking new Covid-19 infections is flattening, at today’s press briefing.

According to the official data, the number of deaths today fell to 449, the lowest daily official death rate since April 6th.

Unfortunately, at the press briefing Professor, Yvonne Doyle from Public Health England acknowledged that the number of Covid-19 deaths outside of hospitals is not certain.

It also emerged today that for the first time since the virus spread to Italy, the number of infected people in the country fell. The total number of deaths exceeded 20,000 in France today. In the UK the total number of confirmed deaths reached 16,509.

Screenshot 2020-04-21 at 07.40.32