Trump & Putin Agree on Stabilizing Energy Markets, Discuss Coronavirus Outbreak
U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed in a telephone call Monday that it was important to stabilize the global energy markets, roiled by an economic downturn caused by nations choosing to temporarily shutter businesses to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The two leaders agreed that they would work with the G-20 nations to combat the coronavirus and reinvigorate the global economy, said White House spokesman Judd Deere.
Leaders of the world’s most powerful economies will convene virtually on Thursday to try and coordinate a response to coronavirus. The meeting for the Group of 20 nations will be chaired by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman. The meeting comes amid criticism that the world’s wealthiest countries have not taken cohesive action to combat the virus or address its economic impact on people around the world.
“The leaders also discussed critical bilateral and global issues,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said Monday. “President Trump and President Putin agreed on the importance of stability in global energy markets.”
OPEC and other leading oil producers including Russia failed to agree on further joint action on the global oil market and to extend their deal to cut output, leading to a sharp fall in oil prices that have also been battered by the coronavirus pandemic.
Oil prices plunged Monday to an 18-year low as the number of novel coronavirus cases worldwide surged past 730,000, reinforcing worries about the impact of the pandemic on the global economy.
U.S. and European stock markets moved higher despite the prospect of much of the world remaining in confinement for weeks to come.
Crude oil struck the lowest levels since 2002, with Brent North Sea tumbling to $21.65 per barrel at one point. The benchmark U.S. contract, WTI, briefly fell below $20.00.
Saudi Arabia has been criticized for rocking oil markets by ramping up production next month and slashing prices to gain market share after Russia, another major G20 oil producer, refused to extend a production cut agreement that had propped up crude prices. Trump also said Monday morning that he and Putin would also discuss “trade.”
Monday was the first time Trump and Putin spoke amid the pandemic, which has claimed more than 37,000 lives globally. Russia, as of Monday afternoon, reported more than 1,800 positive cases of COVID-19 and nine deaths. The U.S. has reported more than 153,000 cases and more than 2,800 deaths due to coronavirus.