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Oil rebounds over 4% as hopes of OPEC cut

Oil prices jumped more than 4%, up from multi-year lows hit earlier on Monday, as hopes of a deeper cut in output by OPEC and stimulus from central banks countered worries about damage to demand from the coronavirus outbreak.

Brent crude LCOc1 was at $51.91 a barrel, up $2.24 or 4.5%, by 0812 GMT, off $48.40, the lowest since July 2017. Across the Atlantic, U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1 hit a 14-month low of $43.32, before recovering to $46.65, up $1.89, or 4.2%. Both benchmarks marked their first gain after six sessions of losses amid virus worries. The coronavirus, which originated in China, has killed nearly 3,000 and roiled global markets as investors brace for a steep knock to world growth. Equities last week marked their biggest rout since the 2008 financial crisis.

Dragging on oil prices earlier in the day was data unveiled over the weekend by China, the world’s top energy consumer. Factory activity in the country shrank at the fastest pace ever in February, underscoring the colossal damage from the outbreak on its economy. Several key members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are mulling the additional production cut in the second quarter amid fears the virus outbreak will erode oil demand. The previous proposal was for an additional output cut of 600,000 bpd. Oil prices are down more than 20% since the start of the year despite OPEC and its allies including Russia, a grouping known as OPEC+, curbing oil output by 1.7 million bpd under a deal that runs to the end of March. Also, current prices would incentivize Russia to agree to further output cuts although “any cut will likely be of a short duration, for example, three months, with the barrels brought immediately back to market thereafter,” Fitch analysts said.

Oil rebounds over 4% as hopes of OPEC cut, stimulus counter virus gloom, Reuters, Mar 2

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