Oil Holds Gains as Asia Steps Up Economic Response to Virus

Crude held firm on Monday, following its biggest weekly gain of the year, after China, Hong Kong and Singapore pledged extra stimulus measures to help the region’s economy recover from the impact of coronavirus.

Futures in New York rose 0.3%, after gaining 1.2% on Friday, as fears over the impact on global demand from the spread of the virus began to ease. Beijing said Sunday it would enact more-efficient stimulus measures despite a widening fiscal gap, including lower corporate taxes. Still, sentiment remains cautious with Hubei, the Chinese province at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, reporting 1,933 new cases, slightly higher than a day earlier, and 100 additional deaths.

  • OPEC and its allies were close to abandoning any plans for an emergency meeting, several delegates from the group said, although adding that Saudi Arabia hadn’t wholly given up on its proposal yet.
  • Goldman Sachs slashed its Brent and WTI 1Q oil forecasts by $10 a barrel, citing a sharp hit to demand following the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Short-sellers gave oil a reprieve, with bets against West Texas Intermediate crude little changed in the week ended Feb. 11, data released Friday showed. Still, their overall stance is still the most pessimistic since November.
  • West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery was up 16 cents at $52.21 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 10:16 a.m. Sydney time.
    • March WTI added 63 cents to settle Friday at $52.05 a barrel.
  • Brent for April settlement slipped 3 cents to $57.29 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange, after rising 98 cents to $57.32 on Friday.

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