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Oil prices drop as Trump announces positive test for coronavirus

Donald Trump had insisted that the extensive testing regimen at the White House would protect him from contracting the virus himself

Oil prices dropped and the safe-haven yen strengthened in the Asian trading hours on Friday after the US president, Donald Trump, announced that he had tested positive for the novel coronavirus disease.

Trump made the announcement on Twitter at nearly 1am ET on Friday.

Trump tweet

International benchmark Brent crude futures were down 2.42% to $39.94 per barrel. 

US crude futures also shed 2.43% to $37.78 per barrel. That followed a sizable decline on Thursday of nearly 4%.

Shares of oil companies regionally also fell in Friday trade.

In Australia, shares in Beach Energy dropped 6.37% while Santos declined 5.47%. Over in Japan, Inpex slipped 3.07%.

The yen strengthens

The Japanese yen – often seen as a safe-haven currency – strengthened after Trump’s announcement, last changing hands at 105.17 per dollar after an earlier low of 105.66 against the greenback.

The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 93.733 after touching an earlier high of 94.031.

The Australian dollar slipped to $0.716, following a high of $0.7189.

Grave health threat

In a memo sent after midnight on Friday, the White House physician, Navy Commander Dr Sean Conley, said Trump was “well” but did not specify whether he was displaying symptoms.

“They plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence,” he wrote of the president and first lady.

“The White House medical team and I will maintain a vigilant watch, and I appreciate the support provided by some of our country’s greatest medical professionals and institutions,” Conley went on, without elaborating what assistance was being provided to the White House doctors.

The diagnosis amounts to the most serious known health threat to a sitting US president in decades, at least since President Ronald Reagan was shot non-fatally in 198.

President Trump has long insisted that the extensive testing regimen at the White House would protect him from contracting the virus himself.

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