Oil prices were down at early trading on Thursday as rising U.S. crude oil stocks escalated oversupply concerns in addition to the risk of hampered global oil demand from the new virus epidemic in China.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $62.19 per barrel at 0625 GMT on Thursday for a 0.75% loss after closing the previous session at $62.66 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate was at $55.66 a barrel at the same time for a 0.85% decline after ending Wednesday at $56.14 per barrel.
Crude oil inventories in the U.S. are estimated to increase by 1.6 million barrels for the week ending Jan. 17, according to American Petroleum Institute (API) figures released Wednesday.
On the demand side, a new epidemic that emerged in China threatens global economic growth and overall oil demand around the world.
If the new coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China develops and spreads throughout the world through travel and trade lines, demand for oil could fall by 260,000 barrels per day (bpd), according to American-based investment banking firm Goldman Sachs.
Another major investment giant JPMorgan warned that if the virus develops into a SARS-style epidemic, which hit China from 2002 to 2003, oil prices could fall by as much as $5 per barrel.
By Ovunc Kutlu