Oil prices have risen amid widespread optimism as new coronavirus Covid-19 cases declined for a second consecutive day in China.
According to Reuters, Brent crude was up by $0.51 at $58.26 a barrel. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was up $0.55 at $52.60 a barrel.
The increase in oil prices was also aided by growing worries about supply. This came after a move by the US to cut more Venezuelan crude from the market.
The coronavirus Covid-19 death toll has increased to more than 2,000, with 137 new deaths in China. The number of cases of infection has increased to 75,000 globally as of the end of 18 February.
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The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that they do not have enough information to say if countries have contained the virus. It noted 92 cases of human-to-human transmission in 12 countries outside China.
Meanwhile, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Rosneft’s Geneva-based trading unit Rosneft Trading. The US criticised Russia’s backing of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government.
AxiCorp said: “The Swiss subsidiary has been Venezuela’s primary conduit for brokering cargos, which find their way predominantly to refineries in India and China.
“Throttling this Asian supply channel will provide some support for oil prices.”
According to Reuters, prices also rose due to expectations that the OPEC+ Group will implement further supply cuts.
It plans to meet next month to conclude a response to the downturn in demand due to the coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak.