Oil steadies, but concern over spreading China virus weighs

# 06:38
24 January 2020

Oil prices were steady on Friday, but on track for a fall of up to 5% for the week on growing concern that fuel demand will weaken as the spread of a respiratory virus from China that has killed 25 so far dents travel and darkens the economic outlook, APA reports quoting Reuters. 

Brent crude futures LCOc1 were 4 cents lower to $62 a barrel by 0225 GMT, its lowest since Dec. 4, after falling 1.9% the previous session. For the week, Brent is down 4%. 

U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures CLc1 were down by 1 cent to $55.58 a barrel, its lowest since Nov. 29. The contract fell 2% on Thursday and is 5% lower for the week. 

The new coronavirus has infected more than 800 so far in China, with 25 dead as of Thursday, according to China’s National Health Commission. The World Health Organisation has declared the situation an emergency, but stopped short of declaring the epidemic of international concern. 

Most of the cases are in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus is believed to have originated late last year, though cases have now been found in at least seven other countries. 

In a note on a Friday, ANZ Bank warned that further spread could crimp energy demand from the transportation sector.