Oil prices have increased after a five-day fall on talks that OPEC could extend cuts if the novel coronavirus outbreak hurts economic demand for oil.
Financial markets impacted by the spread of the corona disease out of China are in the process of analysing the economic fallout. The coronavirus death toll has reached 132.
Brent crude futures rose $0.66 to $60.17 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was up $0.62 at $54.10 a barrel, reported Reuters.
According to American Petroleum Institute (API) data, crude oil inventories in the US fell by 4.3 million barrels last week and gasoline stocks were up by 3.3 million barrels, supporting prices.
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API data also showed a 141,000 barrel drop of distillate fuel inventories.
The news agency quoted ING Research as saying: “Price action since last Tuesday does suggest that the market is pricing in a fairly sizeable demand impact.
“The big unknown for markets is for how long will travel restrictions be in place, and could these get even stricter.”
Meanwhile, British Airways has suspended all direct flights to and from mainland China because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Asia’s jet fuel demand has slumped due to the suspension of airlines’ connection to China.
Reuters cited OPEC sources as saying that the group plans to extend oil production cuts until at least June this year.
Investors are awaiting data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), which is due today.