Oil prices eased after seeing its biggest weekly gain since September as hopes for an OPEC+ emergency conference on the coronavirus faded.
Despite Saudi Arabia pushing for a meeting scheduled this month, OPEC+ are expected to hold the conference in March after Russia recoiled from the plan. Meanwhile China, Hong Kong, and Singapore have promised additional fiscal stimulus to soften the blow on the economy by the coronavirus.
Brent oil rose more than 5% last week amid speculation as cautious investors speculated the worst hit on the economy by the coronavirus in China. Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs Group Inc had cut its 2020 crude-demand forecast almost in half and lowered its first-quarter price estimate by 16%.
Brent’s April settlement dropped by 0.2%, to $57.19 per barrel at 11:31AM in Singapore on the ICE Futures Europe exchange after it had fell to a near 0.9% earlier. The contract jumped 5.2% last week. The global benchmark crude traded at a premium of $4.92 to West Texas Intermediate.
WTI’s March delivery held its ground at $52.01 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 3.4% last week - its biggest weekly gain since December.
Sentiment remains cautious as Hubei, the Chinese province at the epicenter of the outbreak reports new cases and a rising death toll.
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