Oil Prices Rebound After WHO Says China Could Control Virus

Oil prices rebounded on Friday in Asia after the World Health Organization (WHO) said it had confidence China could control the virus outbreak.

U.S. Crude Oil WTI Futures rose 2.0% to $53.19 by 12:30 AM ET (04:30 GMT), while International Brent Oil Futures also gained 1.8% to $58.34.

Despite the gains today, both WTI and Brent are down more than 10% for the month.

So far, the new virus has killed 213 people and infected 9,692 in China and spread to at least 18 other countries.

“China is the world’s No. 1 energy consumer and road, rail and air transportation has virtually come to a standstill in infected parts of the country,” said Barani Krishnan, Investing.com’s commodity analyst.

However, the WHO said restrictions on commerce weren’t necessary and that there’s no need for travel and trade bans due to the coronavirus.

Oil prices were also supported by China’s January manufacturing PMI data, which came in at 50.0 as expected.

“China has said the impact of the coronavirus is not fully reflected in the January PMI and it’s too early to peer into the crystal ball,” said Howie Lee, an economist at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. in Singapore. “Today’s spike could be a knee-jerk reaction and things could get worse before they get better.”

In other news, Saudi Arabia has reportedly opened a discussion about moving an upcoming output policy meeting to early February from March following the recent slide in oil prices.