OPEC+ Mulls Advancing Meeting Date

OPEC+ Mulls Advancing Meeting DateOPEC+ Mulls Advancing Meeting Date

A coronavirus-triggered 10% fall in crude oil prices over the last two weeks has shaken some OPEC countries --- including kingpin Saudi Arabia --- to the realization that waiting until March 5-6, as scheduled, to potentially announce deeper production cuts may be too late.
OPEC officials led by Saudi energy minister Abdulaziz bin Salman on Thursday were discussing dates to possibly reschedule their next meeting, following a statement by Algerian energy minister late Wednesday that moving it up to February was "very likely," S&P Global Platts reported.
But not all members were convinced yet that an earlier gathering is necessary, sources said. "We are still working on it," one delegate said. Another said the date was unlikely to be next week.
The spread of the coronavirus, which has sickened nearly 10,000 people globally, has led to fears of an economic contraction in China, where the infection started. The virus has killed more than 200 people. 
China is the biggest crude importer and is a key market for several OPEC members, and many Chinese refineries have already slashed their crude runs.
OPEC and its 10 allies are one month in to their latest production accord, which commits them to a 1.7 million barrels per day cut through the end of March.
Oil prices rose on Friday but were still set for a fourth consecutive weekly loss, as markets attempted to assess the economic damage of the coronavirus that has spread from China to around 20 countries.
Brent crude was 31 cents higher at $58.60 a barrel but was still down 3.4% on the week. US West Texas Intermediate rose by 34 cents to $52.48 a barrel. It is 3.2% lower on the week. Both benchmarks rose by more than $1 earlier in the session.


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