By Alex Longley and Sharon Cho
Views differ on the potential impact of the deadly virus on demand, with BP Plc suggesting it could wipe out a third of global consumption growth this year, while OPEC’s own analysis indicates a modest drop of around 400,000 barrels a day for about six months.
“The short-term damage to oil demand from China has already occurred,” said Ole Hansen, head of commodities strategy at Saxo Bank A/S. “On that basis the upside potential may still depend on action from OPEC+.”
West Texas Intermediate for March delivery advanced $1.47, or 3%, to $51.08 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange as of 8:38 a.m. local time. Brent for April settlement rose 2.8% to $55.45 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
In another bumpy day for the market’s structure the front of the Brent curve briefly flipped into backwardation, before sliding back into a bearish contango again.
Saudi Arabia is pushing for a production cut of at least 500,000 barrels a day and even as much as twice that amount, according to some OPEC+ delegates. But the kingdom’s efforts have repeatedly run up against Russia’s reluctance to make deeper curbs.
Technical experts from the group meet again on Wednesday to analyze the impact of the crisis on oil demand, which may help determine whether the alliance convenes a ministerial meeting later this month.
Adding to demand concerns, a U.S. industry report showed an expansion in crude stockpiles last week. Figures from the American Petroleum Institute showed U.S. inventories rose by about 4.2 million barrels, according to people familiar with the data. Official government figures are due later on Wednesday.
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