Oil up on slowing pace of coronavirus, Venezuela sanctions

Benchmark Brent oil prices rose for a seventh consecutive day after demand worries eased with a slowing of new coronavirus cases in China and supply was curtailed by a U.S. move to cut more Venezuelan crude from the market.

Reuters reported Wednesday that Brent (LCOc1) was up by 81 cents at $58.56 a barrel by 1309 GMT.

The global benchmark has risen nearly 10 per cent since falling last week to its lowest this year.

U.S. oil (CLc1) was up 70 cents at $52.75 a barrel, it reported.

China, the world’s second-largest economy, has imposed city lockdowns and travel restrictions to contain a virus that has now killed more than 2,000 people, stoking concern over an economic slowdown and a hit to oil demand.

“Those in doubt of the economic impact from the virus should take heed from Apple’s (AAPL.O) surprise sales warning … Put simply, this is the surest sign yet of the coronavirus fallout on the global economy,” PVM analysts were quoted.

S&P Global Ratings was also quoted saying that it expected coronavirus would deliver a “short-term blow” to economic growth in China in the first quarter, echoing findings by the International Energy Agency.

Official data showed new cases in China fell for a second straight day, although the World Health Organization said there was not enough data to know if the epidemic was being contained.

The oil market price structure is also showing signs that prompt demand for oil is picking up, as the front-month Brent futures market is moving deeper into backwardation when near-term prices are higher than later-dated prices, the report added.

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