Oil prices mixed as demand shrinks, but stimulus hopes support

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Oil prices were mixed on Thursday following three days of gains, with the prospect of rapidly dwindling demand due to coronavirus travel bans and lockdowns offsetting hopes a U.S. $2 trillion emergency stimulus will shore up economic activity.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 futures slipped 4 cents, or 0.2%, to $24.45 as of 0018 GMT, while Brent crude LCOc1 futures rose 12 cents, or 0.4%, to $27.51.

“With lockdowns in many countries, expectations of oil demand contracting by more than 10 million barrels per day (bpd) are rising. Such demand loss will increase the supply glut,” Australia and New Zealand Banking Group analysts said in a note.

The collapse of a supply-cut pact between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers led by Russia is set to boost oil supply, with Saudi Arabia planning to ship more than 10 million bpd from May.

“Production increases by Saudi Arabia and Russia loom, and things still look uncertain due to the ongoing price war between these two countries,” ANZ said.

U.S. crude inventories rose by 1.6 million barrels in the most recent week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday, marking the ninth straight week of increases.

Products supplied, a proxy for U.S. demand, dropped nearly 10% to 19.4 million bpd, EIA data showed.

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Oil slumps as stock markets sink, while Saudi, UAE plan to boost capacity

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices fell 4% on Wednesday, sinking into the close of trading with renewed weakness in the stock market after the World Health Organization said the global coronavirus outbreak is now a pandemic, and as major oil producers announced plans to escalate the burgeoning price war.

Brent crude settled down $1.43, or 3.8%, at $35.79 per barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude ended down $1.38 or 4% to $32.98.

Risk assets tumbled throughout the day, but accelerated losses late as the number of coronavirus cases increased and numerous countries restricted travel.

“What caused the dump in oil prices in the last minutes before the oil market close was when the stock market made new lows,” said Phil Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. “News on the coronavirus does not seem to be inspiring demand hopes right now.”

Both the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) slashed oil demand forecasts because of the coronavirus outbreak, as they now see demand contracting in this quarter.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates announced plans to boost production capacity following the collapse of coordinated output cuts by Saudi Arabia, Russia and others. The Saudi energy ministry has directed producer Saudi Aramco to raise its output capacity to 13 million from 12 million barrels per day (bpd).

UAE national oil company ADNOC also said it would raise crude supply to more than 4 million bpd in April and accelerate plans to boost its output capacity to 5 million bpd, a target it previously planned to achieve by 2030.

“Saudi’s shock-and-awe strategy suggests to us that to bring Russia back to the negotiating table, it is serious in causing severe price and revenue pain for all oil producers,” UBS analysts said in a note.

Trading in long-dated Brent futures contracts points to expectations that supply will continue to rise. The current Brent front month contract recently traded at more than $5 below the six-month contract, the biggest discount since January 2016.

(GRAPHIC: Oil price forecasts dim after price war begins – here)

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Saudi Arabia’s plans to increase production capacity were “probably not the best option”, adding Moscow had several phone calls with OPEC and non-OPEC members, but that no partners had agreed to its proposal.

OPEC said in a monthly report that it expected global demand to rise by just 60,000 bpd in 2020, a reduction of 920,000 bpd from its previous forecast.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) also said global oil demand is expected to dive by 910,000 bpd in the first quarter due to coronavirus outbreak.

Numerous North American producers have announced spending cuts including Occidental Petroleum Corp, Marathon Oil Corp and Diamondback Energy Inc.

“Any reduction in spending and drilling will take time to show up in actual production figures and is unlikely to mitigate the bearish impact of a massive Saudi output increase, in case the latter does happen,” oil brokerage PVM’s Tamas Varga said.

Weekly data on U.S. inventories showed little effect from the coronavirus outbreak. Crude stocks rose by 7.7 million barrels, but inventories of gasoline and diesel fell sharply, as refining runs remain at seasonally low levels. [EIA/S]

Policymakers and central banks have been taking measures to bolster their economies against disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak, the latest being the Bank of England which unexpectedly cut interest rates by half a percentage point on Wednesday.

(GRAPHIC: Oil price dive turns up the heat on OPEC finances – here)

A worker at Equinor’s Martin Linge offshore oil and gas development has been diagnosed with the coronavirus and is being held in isolation, the Norwegian energy firm said. It said activity on the field will be reduced on Wednesday.

However, China’s independent oil refiners are cranking up production as local governments begin to relax strict measures to contain the coronavirus and fuel demand begins to recover.

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Oil prices plunge, hit by erupting Saudi-Russia oil price war

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices crashed on Monday, suffering their biggest daily rout since the 1991 Gulf War, after the collapse of an OPEC+ supply agreement that now threatens to overwhelm the world with oil, inciting panic throughout the energy sector.

After failing to come to an agreement to cut supply, Saudi Arabia and Russia over the weekend pledged instead to ramp up production, which could quickly flood global markets with oil at a time when demand has already weakened substantially.

The market’s reaction has been furious, with crude futures plunging by nearly 20%, while energy stocks collapse as shale producers frantically cut future expenditures in anticipation of a drastically different outlook than a few days ago.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 were down $8.84, or 19.5%, to $36.43 a barrel by 10:49 a.m. EDT (1449 GMT). They earlier fell by as much as 31% to $31.02, their lowest since Feb. 12, 2016.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 fell $7.81, or 18.9%, to $33.47 a barrel. WTI earlier dropped 33% to $27.34, also the lowest since Feb. 12, 2016.

Should these losses hold, it would be the biggest one-day percentage decline for both benchmarks since Jan. 17, 1991, the outset of the U.S. Gulf War, when it fell by a third.

A three-year supply pact between members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which includes the group’s top producer Saudi Arabia, and Russia fell apart on Friday after Moscow refused to support deeper oil cuts to cope with the outbreak of coronavirus.

OPEC responded by removing all limits on its own production, prompting fear of a supply hike in a market already awash with crude.

Despite sliding demand for crude due to the coronavirus, Saudi Arabia plans to boost its crude output above 10 million barrels per day (bpd) in April after the current deal to curb production expires at the end of March, two sources told Reuters on Sunday. Saudi Arabia also cut its official crude selling price.

The kingdom has been producing around 9.7 million bpd in recent months.

Russia, one of the world’s top producers alongside Saudi Arabia and the United States, also said it could lift output and that it could cope with low oil prices for six to 10 years.

The countries along with several other producers have cooperated for three years to restrain supply. The OPEC+ talks collapsed after OPEC effectively presented Russia with an ultimatum on Thursday, offering it a choice of accepting a deal with much bigger than expected cuts or no deal at all.

“The prognosis for the oil market is even more dire than in November 2014, when such a price war last started, as it comes to a head with the significant collapse in oil demand due to the coronavirus,” Goldman Sachs said.

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(Graphic on major oil price milestones: here)

Saudi Arabia, Russia and other major producers last battled for market share in 2014 in a bid to put a squeeze on production from the United States, which has not joined any output limiting pacts and which is now the world’s biggest producer of crude.

(Graphic: Brent crude oil prices collapse by most since 1991 as ‘OPEC+’ disintegrates here)

The global outbreak of the coronavirus prompted OPEC to seek additional output cuts. More than 110,000 people have been infected in 105 countries and territories and 3,800 have died, the vast majority in mainland China, according to a Reuters tally.

China’s efforts to curtail the coronavirus outbreak has disrupted the world’s second-largest economy and curtailed shipments to the biggest oil importer.

The International Energy Agency said on Monday oil demand was set to contract in 2020 for the first time since 2009. It cut its annual forecast by almost 1 million bpd and that the market would now contract by 90,000 bpd.

(Graphic: U.S., Russia, Saudi oil output here)

Major banks also have cut their demand growth forecasts. Morgan Stanley predicted China would have zero demand growth in 2020, while Goldman Sachs sees a contraction of 150,000 bpd in global demand.

Bank of America reduced its Brent crude price forecast from $54 a barrel to $45 a barrel in 2020.

“The radical shift in policy suggests that Saudi will allow inventories to build sharply over the next three quarters,” said a Bank of America Global Research report. “As a result, we now expect Brent oil prices to temporarily dip into the $20s range over the coming weeks.”

(Graphic: Saudi Arabia slashes key crude oil selling price here)

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Oil prices plunge by a third as Saudi-Russian pump war looms

LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices lost as much as a third of their value on Monday in their biggest daily rout since the 1991 Gulf War as Saudi Arabia and Russia signalled they would hike output in a market already awash with crude after their three-year supply pact collapsed.

Despite sliding demand for crude due to the coronavirus, Riyadh made plans to ramp up output in April after Moscow balked at OPEC’s proposal last week for a further steep production cut. Saudi Arabia also cut its official crude selling price.

Russia, one of the world’s top producers alongside Saudi Arabia and the United States, also said it could lift output and that it could cope with low oil prices for six to 10 years.

Brent LCOc1 crude futures were down by more than 27% at $35.5 a barrel by 1340 GMT, after early dropping by as much as 31% to $31.02, their lowest since Feb. 12, 2016.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 fell by more than 27%, to $32.30 a barrel, after initially falling 33% to $27.34, also the lowest since Feb. 12, 2016.

The U.S. benchmark’s biggest decline on record was in 1991 when it also fell by a third.

“The timing of this lower price environment should be limited to a few months unless this whole virus impact on global market and consumer confidence triggers the next recession,” said Keith Barnett, senior vice president for strategic analysis at ARM Energy in Houston.

(Graphic on major oil price milestones: here)

The disintegration of the grouping dubbed OPEC+, made up of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries plus Russia and other several oil producers, ends more than three years of cooperation to support the market.

Saudi Arabia plans to boost its crude output above 10 million barrels per day (bpd) in April after the current deal to curb production expires at the end of March, two sources told Reuters on Sunday.

The kingdom has been producing around 9.7 million bpd in recent months.

(Graphic: Brent crude oil prices collapse by most since 1991 as ‘OPEC+’ disintegrates here)

Saudi Arabia, Russia and other major producers last battled for market share in 2014 in a bid to put a squeeze on production from the United States, which has not joined any output limiting pacts and which is now the world’s biggest producer of crude.

“The deal was always destined to fail,” said Matt Stanley, senior broker at Starfuels in Dubai, saying the main result of the OPEC+ pact “has been that U.S. shale producers have gained market share.”

(Graphic: U.S., Russia, Saudi oil output here)

Saudi Arabia over the weekend cut its official selling prices for April for all crude grades to all destinations by between $6 and $8 a barrel.

“The prognosis for the oil market is even more dire than in November 2014, when such a price war last started, as it comes to a head with the significant collapse in oil demand due to the coronavirus,” Goldman Sachs said.

(Graphic: Saudi Arabia slashes key crude oil selling price here)

DEMAND CONTRACTION

China’s efforts to curtail the coronavirus outbreak has disrupted the world’s second-largest economy and curtailed shipments to the biggest oil importer. The virus has also spread to other major economies such as Italy and South Korea.

The International Energy Agency said on Monday oil demand was set to contract in 2020 for the first time since 2009. It cut its annual forecast by almost 1 million bpd and that the market would now contract by 90,000 bpd.

Major banks have cut their demand growth forecasts. Morgan Stanley predicted China would have zero demand growth in 2020, while Goldman Sachs sees a contraction of 150,000 bpd in global demand.

Goldman Sachs also cut its forecast for Brent to $30 for the second and third quarters of 2020.

In other markets, the dollar was down sharply against the yen, Asian stock markets sharply lower, and gold rose to its highest since 2013 as investors fled to safe havens. [MKTS/GLOB]

Chris Weafer, director at Macro-Advisory consultancy, said Russia return to cooperating with OPEC by autumn if prices remained very low as President Vladimir Putin “will be reluctant to run down financial reserves too far to fund an expanding deficit”.

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Oil rises more than 1% on smaller-than-expected rise in crude stocks

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil prices rose more than 1% on Thursday, recouping losses from the previous day on a smaller-than-expected rise in crude oil inventories in the United States, although the gains were capped by uncertainties over cuts by major oil producers.

Brent crude rose by 78 cents, or 1.5%, to $51.91 per barrel by 0202 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was up by 69 cents, or 1.5%, at $47.47 per barrel.

Volumes were low, however, reflecting that “there is not a lot of confidence in the moves,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at brokerage CMC Markets in Sydney.

Saudi Arabia and other members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), meanwhile, struggled on Wednesday to win support from Russia to join them in additional oil output cuts to prop up prices that have tumbled by a fifth this year because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Saudi Arabia wants extra cuts of 1 million to 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) for the second quarter, and to keep existing cuts of 2.1 million bpd in place until the end of 2020.

“If OPEC+ settles with something in the middle of the Russian request of no change in cuts and the 1.5 million Saudi goal, that might not be enough to keep prices supported here,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at broker OANDA.

“OPEC+ needs to send a strong message and anything below 1 million barrels in deeper production cuts will send oil prices sharply lower.” 

Supporting oil prices, U.S. crude stocks rose modestly in the latest week, while U.S. oil exports surged to more than 4 million barrels a day for the first time since December, suggesting a rise in overseas demand. [EIA/S]

Geopolitical tensions in the Middle East also boosted prices. The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said it had foiled an attack on an oil tanker off Yemen’s coast on the Arabian Sea, the Saudi state news agency SPA reported on Wednesday.

Still, the global spread of the coronavirus has crushed hopes for stronger growth this year and will hold 2020 global output gains to their slowest pace since the 2008-2009 financial crisis, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Wednesday.

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Oil rises $1 as OPEC, allies work on big output cut

LONDON (Reuters) – Brent oil prices rose on Wednesday on expectations that major producers have moved closer to an agreement to enact deeper output cuts aimed at offsetting the slump in demand caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Brent crude LCOc1 was up by $1.11, or 2.1%, at $52.97 a barrel at 1234 GMT.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) CLc1 was up by 93 cents, or 2%, at $48.11 a barrel.

Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members are seeking to persuade Russia on Wednesday to join them in large additional oil output cuts to prop up prices which have tumbled because of the coronavirus outbreak.

“With demand-side uncertainties having already dragged Brent futures about 19 percent lower since the start of the year … oil’s upside appears significantly capped amid persistent concerns over the coronavirus outbreak,” said Han Tan, market analyst at FXTM.

(Graphic: OPEC production vs. world demand here)

A technical panel of several representatives from OPEC states, Russia and other producers recommended on Tuesday cutting output by between 0.6-1.0 million barrels per day (bpd) during the second quarter only.

Iran’s oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said the market was facing a surplus.

“There is no doubt that there is an imbalance in the supply and demand of oil. Right now, the supply in the market is greater than demand,” Zanganeh said. “It’s necessary for OPEC and non-OPEC to make all their efforts to balance the market.”

Goldman Sachs again cut its Brent price forecast, to $45 a barrel in April, while expecting Brent gradually recovering to $60 a barrel by the year-end.

The bank said while an output cut by OPEC “will help normalize oil demand and inventories later this year, they can’t prevent an already started large oil inventory accumulation.”

Morgan Stanley also cut its second-quarter 2020 Brent price forecast to $55 per barrel and its WTI outlook to $50 on expectations that China’s 2020 oil demand growth would be close to zero and that demand elsewhere may weaken because of the virus.

(Graphic: Crude prices fall as coronavirus cases rise here)

The U.S. Federal Reserve cut interest rates on Tuesday in a bid to shield the world’s largest economy from the impact of the coronavirus, but the decision offered only limited support for crude.

“Yet far from easing virus anxieties, the surprise move had the opposite effect. Market players fretted over the suddenness of the Fed’s decision,” said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM.

U.S. crude oil inventories rose in the most recent week, while gasoline and distillate stocks fell, data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute showed on Tuesday.

Crude inventories rose by 1.7 million barrels in the week to Feb. 28 to 446.6 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations for a build of 2.6 million barrels.

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OPEC leaning towards larger oil cuts as virus hits prices, demand: sources

LONDON (Reuters) – Several key OPEC members are leaning towards a bigger than previously expected oil output cut, four sources with knowledge of the talks said, as oil prices fell to $50 per barrel on fears the coronavirus outbreak will hit oil demand badly.

Saudi Arabia, the biggest producer in OPEC, and some other members are considering agreeing an output cut of 1 million barrels per day (bpd) for the second quarter of 2020, more than an initially proposed cut of 600,000 bpd, the sources said.

The Financial Times newspaper was first to report the deeper cut idea.

The virus has caused almost 2,800 deaths in China and has spread to dozens of other countries.

Oil LOCc1 has slid by almost 25% this year on lower demand and slower expected economic growth, alarming OPEC members.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies including Russia, a grouping known as OPEC+, have already been curbing oil output by 1.7 million bpd under a deal that runs to the end of March.

They are scheduled to meet on March 5-6 in Vienna to decide further policy.

In an initial response to counter the impact of the virus on the oil market, an OPEC+ committee this month recommended the group deepen its output cuts by 600,000 bpd, a figure now seen as not enough by some in the group.

One source familiar with the talks said the kingdom now supported an oil output cut of 1 million bpd. Two other OPEC sources said the need for additional action was clearer than when the OPEC+ committee recommendation was made.

“The situation has deteriorated,” said an industry source who has discussed the issue with some producers. “There is a lot of concern.”

Saudi Arabia is already making unilateral curbs of more 500,000 bpd in crude supplies to China for March, two sources with knowledge of the matter said. State oil company Saudi Aramco (2222.SE) declined to comment.

The OPEC+ panel that recommended the 600,000 bpd cut, called the Joint Technical Committee, is scheduled to convene again on March 3, two sources said, to revise the recommendation in the light of more recent oil market data.

While Saudi Arabia supports a further output cut, Russia has yet to announce its final position on the matter. Moscow has a history of only agreeing to OPEC+ actions at the last minute, after initial reluctance.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Thursday that Russia was “very satisfied” with its cooperation with Saudi Arabia and wanted to continue this within OPEC and non-OPEC frameworks, as well as bilaterally.

A source in a Russian oil company said it made sense to deepen the cuts.

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Oil falls as coronavirus spread beyond China heightens demand fears

TOKYO (Reuters) – Oil prices fell on Friday amid concerns over fuel demand as the coronavirus epidemic spread further beyond China, while major crude producers stood pat on any early action to cut output to support the market.

Brent crude LCOc1 was down 28 cents, or 0.5%, at $59.03 a barrel by 0332 GMT, while U.S. crude CLc1 was also off by 28 cents, or 0.5%, at $53.60 a barrel.

On Friday South Korean authorities confirmed 52 new coronavirus infections, Yonhap reported. The streets of Daegu, the country’s fourth-largest city, were deserted on Thursday after dozens of people there went down with the pathogen in what authorities described as a “super-spreading” event.

In China itself, the world’s biggest importer of crude oil, new cases also rose on Friday from the day before even as Beijing presses on with efforts to contain the spread that has largely paralyzed the world’s second-biggest economy.

“I think there is a lot of reason for caution right now, as the impact of coronavirus on demand is still unclear,” Stratfor oil analyst Greg Priddy said by email.

“If it begins to look like the impact will be modest, that could affect Russia’s decision at the March 5-6 OPEC+ meeting on whether they are willing to endorse a further cut,” he added.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Thursday that global oil producers understood that it would no longer make sense for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies to meet before their gathering.

The grouping, known as OPEC+, has been withholding supply from the market to support prices for several years now and many analysts expect an extension or deepening of the restrictions on production.

Moscow has said it will disclose its stance in the coming days.

Adding to pressure on oil prices was the strength of the U.S. dollar as investors looked for safe havens. A stronger greenback typically makes oil more expensive as the commodity is usually priced in dollars.

Meanwhile prices were little changed by tensions in the Middle East after Saudi Arabia said on early Friday it had intercepted and destroyed several ballistic missiles launched by Houthi militia toward Saudi cities.

In the United States, crude stockpiles rose for a fourth week last week, although less than analysts had forecast. Gasoline and distillate inventories continued recent declines.

(GRAPHIC: U.S. petroleum inventories – here)

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Oil prices slide as coronavirus spread beyond China raises demand worries

TOKYO (Reuters) – Oil prices fell on Friday with fears for fuel demand growing as the coronavirus epidemic that originated in China spread further beyond the country, while major crude producers stood pat on taking early action to cut output to support the market.

Brent crude LCOc1 was down 24 cents, or 0.4%, at $59.07 a barrel by 0155 GMT, while U.S. crude CLc1 was off by 25 cents, or 0.5%, at $53.63 a barrel.

On Friday South Korean authorities confirmed 52 new coronavirus infections, Yonhap reported. The streets of the country’s fourth-largest city were deserted on Thursday after dozens of people there went down with the pathogen in what authorities described as a “super-spreading” event.

In China itself, the world’s biggest importer of crude oil, new cases also rose on Friday from the day before even as Beijing presses on with efforts to contain the spread that has largely paralyzed the world’s second-biggest economy.

“One risk is whether infections rise when people return to work on the mainland, as they are beginning to do though far from on a mass scale,” said Christopher Wood, strategist at Jefferies.

“The other risk is that the resumption of economic activity in the mainland takes longer than was, say, the case with SARS in 2003, because Beijing chooses to prioritize fighting the disease over GDP growth targets,” he added.

Adding to pressure on oil prices was the strength of the U.S. dollar as investors looked for safe havens. A stronger greenback typically makes oil more expensive as the commodity is usually priced in dollars.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Thursday that global oil producers understood that it would now no longer make sense for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies to meet before their previously planned gathering in early March.

The grouping, known as OPEC+, has been withholding supply from the market to support prices for several years now and many analysts expect an extension or deepening of the restrictions on production.

Meanwhile prices were little changed by tensions in the Middle East after Saudi Arabia said on early Friday it had intercepted and destroyed several ballistic missiles launched by Houthi militia towards Saudi cities.

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Oil inches higher, but gains capped by widening economic impact of coronavirus outbreak

TOKYO (Reuters) – Oil prices were slightly higher on Wednesday with gains limited by the widening economic impact from the coronavirus epidemic that started in China, although new confirmed cases fell for a second day in the province at the center of the outbreak.

Brent crude LCOc1 was up by 6 cents at $57.81 a barrel by 0149 GMT, while U.S. oil CLc1 was up 7 cents at $51.97 a barrel. Both contracts started the Asian session trading lower.

China is struggling to get manufacturing back on line in the world’s second-largest economy after imposing stringent city-wide lockdowns and travel restrictions in efforts to contain the virus.

Official data showed new cases in Hubei province fell for a second straight day, although the number of deaths increased, and the World Health Organization earlier cautioned there was not enough data to know if the epidemic was being contained.

Oil prices have risen as much as around 8% since hitting lows for this year just over a week ago, but another sharp downturn in prices could prompt the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies to deepen supply cuts.

The grouping, known as OPEC+, has been withholding supply to support prices and is meeting next month to decide a response to the latest downturn in demand resulting from the epidemic.

OPEC+ wants to “prevent the emergence of a large supply overhang caused by slumping demand amid the health crisis centered in China, the world’s biggest importer of crude oil,” Eurasia Group said in a note.

In a further sign of widening fallout from the outbreak, Japan’s exports in January were down for a 14th straight month as a gauge of capital spending tumbled.

That came after data on Monday showed that Japan’s economy contracted in the last quarter by the most since 2014, and the virus outbreak is threatening to push the world’s third-biggest economy into recession.

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