Crude prices edged higher Wednesday as traders covered short positions after three sessions of losses and eyed potential supply cuts, whilst fears of a coronavirus pandemic intensified.
Brent crude surged 33 cents, i.e., 0.6%, to $55.28 per barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude climbed 41 cents, i.e., 0.8%, to $50.31 a barrel. Nonetheless, prices are down nearly 7% since last Thursday’s shut.
Fears of the coronavirus outbreak heightened as authorities around the world battled to prevent the spread of the virus.
Asian shares plunged Wednesday as a U.S. warning to Americans to brace for the possibility of a coronavirus outbreak pushed another Wall Street dip and pushed yields on safe-haven Treasuries to record lows.
Oil production in Libya has dived sharply since January 18 due to a blockade of ports and oil fields by groups loyal to eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar.
OPEC and its allies, including Russia, a grouping called OPEC+, are scheduled to meet in Vienna over March 5-6.
Saudi Arabia’s vitality minister stated Tuesday he was confident that OPEC and its partners would respond responsibly to the spread of the virus.
The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) scope on global oil demand progress has dipped to its lowest level in 10 years, IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol stated Tuesday, adding it could be lowered further because of the coronavirus epidemic.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) mentioned Tuesday that crude stockpiles soared 1.3 million barrels last week. Government data on Wednesday was anticipated to show a 2 million-barrel climb.