February 4, 2020 / 5:06 PM / 24 days ago

Valero Energy CEO Gorder calls coronavirus a 'black swan' event

Feb 4 (Reuters) - Valero Energy Corp Chief Executive Joe Gorder said markets are reacting to the coronavirus outbreak, calling the threat a “black swan event” whose economic impacts are not yet clear.

The real questions are the length and severity of the outbreak, Gorder said.

“It’s a little early, but when you shut down an economy the size of China, and you limit trade flows going in and out, and we make fuels that move things along, it’s going to have an impact,” Gorder said on Tuesday at the Argus Americas Crude Summit in Houston.

Wuhan is the center of the newly identified coronavirus outbreak in China that has killed over 400 people, with more than 20,000 infected.

“It’s one of those black swan events,” Gorder said. “It’s unpredictable. It’s going to happen from time to time. We’ll just work our way through it just like the others.”

Gasoline demand is likely to be flat to declining in the future due to efficiencies, but diesel demand will rely solely on the health of the economy, Gorder said. (Reporting by Jennifer Hiller Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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