Earnings of major global companies could fall 10 per cent this year, Citigroup analysts said, as fears of an economic slowdown intensified after a price war between top oil producers Saudi Arabia and Russia.

“The risk remains to the downside, with a 15-20 per cent EPS contraction potentially likely. That would be consistent with a 1.5 per cent global GDP growth outcome,” Citigroup analyst Robert Buckland said in a note late on Monday.

The steep fall in oil prices and economic disruption due to the coronavirus were the main reasons behind the cut in the bank's forecast.

Buckland had predicted last week that global EPS could contract around 10 per cent if the coronavirus slows global economic growth to 2 per cent in 2020.