Oil prices have declined amid the economic ramifications of the rapid spread of coronavirus in China and an unexpected build in US crude oil inventories.
According to Reuters, Brent futures were down $0.95 at $58.86 a barrel. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell $0.84 cents to $52.49 a barrel.
According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), there was a build of 3.5 million barrels in crude stocks. Gasoline stocks increased to 261.1 million barrels in the week that ended 24 January.
The coronavirus death toll jumped to 170 as of the evening of 29 January, with more than 7,700 infected cases confirmed by the Chinese officials.
This resulted in a sharp share price drop in the Asian stock markets.
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OANDA senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley as saying: “The Wuhan virus outbreak and its economic fall-out on Asia, the engine room of the world, remains the most crucial issue facing oil markets, with any rally likely to have short half-lives.”
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Emergency Committee will meet today to decide whether the virus outbreak should now be called a global emergency.
ING said: “While demand is a real concern, it’s important not to forget about the supply disruptions from Libya. If these losses persist, it would be enough to swing the market into deficit this quarter.”