Oil prices rose on Friday due to a decrease in U.S. inventories, but could lose up to 5 percent in a week on the back of worries that the Chinese coronavirus, which had already taken 25 lives, would continue to spread, hurting supply, fuel demand and economic prospects.
March futures for international benchmark Brent crude oil added 0.19 percent, to $62,16 per barrel, whereas U.S. WTI futures with delivery also in March grew by 0.25 percent, to touch $55,74 per barrel at 0833 GMT.
According to the China’s National Health Commission report the virus infected at the moment more than 800 people, with 25 killed. The World Health Organization called the situation emergency, but has not yet announced the pandemic of international concern.
Most cases were reported in Wuhan, in the China’s central city, where the virus supposedly appeared at the end of 2019. One should mention, that the same virus was already identified in another seven countries.
So, the market watch closely the further developments regarding events in China, considering it the big threat for fuel demand.
Meantime, the great support for oil market was EIA report, which showed that U.S. inventories declined by 0.41 million, to 428,11 million barrels in the week, which ended on January, 17, though analysts were expected a 1.01 million barrel decrease.