From the Field
Oil up on reports of possible treatment for coronavirus
LONDON, February 6, 2020 – Oil prices rose on Thursday in Asia amid reports on possible treatment for the coronavirus in China.
US Crude Oil WTI Futures rose 2.2% to $51.86 by 11:50 PM ET (03:50 GMT). International Brent Oil Futures gained 1.8% to $56.27.
China’s Changjiang Daily newspaper reported that a team of researchers led by Zhejiang University Professor Li Lanjuan had found that drugs Abidol and Darunavir can be used to treat patients infected by the new coronavirus that has claimed more than 560 lives so far in China.
Separately, a British scientist has made a significant breakthrough by reducing part of the normal development time from two to three years to only 14 days.
Despite the news, the World Health Organization reiterated on Wednesday that there are no proven therapeutics.
Oil prices were also supported today by prospects for OPEC+ output cuts. OPEC+ is set to meet for a fourth day on Thursday and discuss whether to reduce oil production further to support prices.
“Investors are turning optimistic that OPEC+ will deliver an appropriate response to alleviate concerns stemming from the spread of the virus,” said Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at AxiCorp, in a Bloomberg report.
Meanwhile, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported overnight that stockpiles of US oil rose more than anticipated last week,
Oil inventories rose by 3.35 million barrels for the week ended Jan. 31, the EIA said. Analysts were looking for a build of 2.8 million barrels, according to forecasts compiled by Investing.com.