Global oil prices took a plunge Sunday after Saudi Arabia announced it would increase oil production to its maximum capacity of currently 12 million barrels per day this month. The move came after the country clashed with Russia over its refusal to join OPEC production cuts that were designed to prop up those same prices in the face of falling demand amidst the coronavirus outbreak. According to the Wall Street Journal, Saudi Arabia has already boosted its production to 10 million barrels per day in February and will continue to up production out of fear Russia would steal market shares in the process of going against measures to stabilize prices.
U.S. crude futures hit a four-year low at just over $36 a barrel Monday after falling 20 percent. Saudi Aramco's share price also suffered. The stock that soared since its introduction in December lost almost 9 percent of that original value.
Saudi oil production and exports had been weakening in the second half of 2019, with the kingdom trying to boost prices as part of an OPEC strategy. Production hit a low of 8.8 million barrels per day in September. Exports in that month amounted to 6.7 million bpd.