The oil market is once again getting rocked by the pandemic.
US oil prices tumbled nearly 6% Wednesday morning to $37.40 a barrel. Brent crude, the global benchmark, similarly lost 5%, breaking below $40. Both oil contracts are trading near four-month lows.
The selloff, much like the one in the stock market, is being driven by rising coronavirus infections in Europe and the United States — and fears about how governments may respond. Severe lockdowns this spring crushed demand for oil -- sending US crude below zero for the first time ever.
Switzerland and France are expected to announce new steps to fight the pandemic. And officials in Germany are discussing new efforts, too.
In the United States, Illinois announced new restrictions for Chicago, including no indoor bar or dining service and 11 pm closings of casinos and outdoor dining.
"It's calling oil demand into question. The recovery so far has been relatively fragile," said Ryan Fitzmaurice, energy strategist at Rabobank.
The worsening pandemic could derail the rebound in air travel.
"A lot of people will opt out for health reasons. And people will pass up or pare back Thanksgiving travel," Fitzmaurice.