(Bloomberg) -- Fears that the coronavirus epidemic will slash demand for commodities have begun to creep into U.S. government reports.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday cut its forecast for Chinese cotton consumption by 1 million bales “due in part to the negative economic effects of the novel coronavirus outbreak.”
At about the same time, the U.S. Energy Information Administration pared its forecast for global petroleum liquids demand in the first quarter by 880,000 barrels a day, to 100.26 million barrels.
The commodities world has been on edge since the coronavirus outbreak in China, the world’s biggest buyer of crude and other raw materials, took center stage last month. The virus has killed more than a thousand people, prompted cuts in air travel and has kept many Chinese away from stores.
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