Oil prices fall on oversupply worries as virus hits China demand

US crude oil stocks production up for w  ending Feb. 7

Oil prices fall on oversupply worries as virus hits China demand

Prices could come under further pressure if talks aimed at ending the conflict in Libya, where a blockade of ports has pushed production to the lowest level since 2011, lead to a restoration of output.

Brent futures LCOc1 fell $1.20, or 2.2%, to settle at $53.27 a barrel, their lowest close since December 28, 2018, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1 fell 75 cents, or 1.5%, to settle at $49.57, the lowest close since January 7, 2019.

The markets are also being underpinned by a jump in demand for risky assets as tensions over the coronavirus eased on reports that the spread of the disease may have peaked. Some factories have restarted in China, which could mean the worst of the crude oil demand crisis is over.

The bearish pressure around WTI (oil futures on NYMEX) remains unabated so far this Monday, as the bears derive support from tepid risk tones amid looming China coronavirus fears and broad-based United States dollar strength.

Oil prices rose more than 1 per cent on Tuesday as recent sharp falls have encouraged investors holding short positions to book profits, but the market remains jittery over the Wuhan virus, which has now killed more than 1,000 in China.

Mohamed Arkab, who now holds the presidency of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), also said that the OPEC+ Joint Technical Committee, known as the JTC, has recommended that "an additional reduction in production be made until the end of the second quarter of 2020".

Oil traders also said they are concerned the proposed reduction would not be sufficient to tighten global markets.

OPEC and allies including Russian Federation are restraining output by 1.7 million bpd in 2020 to support the market and have been considering further curbs.

The tight trading range is being generated by comments from Russia Energy Minister Alexander Novak on Friday.

Russia's decision to take the deal or pass will be a market moving event.

Late Tuesday at 21:30 GMT, look for a response to the American Petroleum Institute's (API) weekly inventories report. Traders are looking for a 2.9 million barrel build.

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