14 February, 2020
Oil prices edged higher during the Asian session on Friday morning, trading at 51.45 and remained set for their first modest weekly gain in six weeks on the assumption that major producers will implement deeper output cuts to offset slowing demand in China caused by the coronavirus epidemic. Crude prices have plunged about 20% from their 2020 peaks on Jan. 8 as oversupply concerns combined with worries about large fuel demand declines in China as the country's quarantine to fight the coronavirus outbreak has stymied economic activity. In response to the demand slump, OPEC and its allied producers, known as OPEC+, are considering cutting output by up to 2.3 million barrels per day. The International Energy Agency on Thursday said that first quarter 2020 oil demand is set to fall versus a year earlier for the first time since the financial crisis in 2009 because of the coronavirus outbreak in China.