Oil soars as WHO declares international emergency over coronavirus outbreak


Oil prices soared on Friday as the World Health Organization (WHO) declared global emergency, advised against travel, and restricted trade amid the coronavirus outbreak that began in Wuhan, China.

Oil prices fell 4% through Thursday in the third consecutive month, while traders and investors worry about the impact of the virus on oil and product demands.

Brent crude futures LCOcl climbed 90 cents, at $59.19 per barrel by 0243 GMT. Brent remains 2.5% down for the week.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures CLcl gained $1.03, at $53.17 per barrel. The contract fell 2.2% on Thursday and currently at 1.9% lower for the week.

WHO has declared the coronavirus outbreak in China as an international concern and public health emergency. The death toll currently stands over 200.

Analysts warned of greater risks to trade as the virus continues spreading.

“Oil’s January correction, a 13% drop to be exact, was ripe for a bounce,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA in New York.

“Oil is likely to remain vulnerable here despite today’s optimism that the coronavirus has likely been contained.”

The Italian government had already closed all air traffic to China. Airlines like British Airways, Air France, and American Airlines have also halted flights to cities in China.

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