Crude oil prices were up during early trading on Tuesday with the rising possibility of OPEC extending its oil production cut until the end of 2020 in response to low demand amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The international benchmark Brent crude was trading at $54.07 per barrel at 0625 GMT for a 1.29% increase after closing Monday at $53.38 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate was at $50.22 a barrel at the same time for a 0.84% gain after ending the previous session at $49.80 per barrel.
The death toll in China from the coronavirus outbreak has increased to 1,017 with 42,638 confirmed cases, according to the country’s National Health Commission (NHC) on Tuesday.
After an extraordinary meeting of the Joint Technical Committee (JTC) held in Vienna, Austria between Feb. 4 and 6, the JTC recommended extending OPEC's current production adjustments until the end of 2020.
The JTC has also advised a further adjustment in production until the end of the second quarter of this year, according to a statement released by OPEC on Saturday.
OPEC and its allies agreed on Dec. 6, 2019 to curb their production by an additional 0.5 million barrels per day (bpd) starting from Jan. 1 until the end of first half of 2020. That added to their existing output cut of 1.2 million bpd that came into effect in December 2018.
Mohamed Arkab, president of the OPEC Conference in 2020, said in the statement that the coronavirus epidemic "has had a negative impact on oil demand and oil markets."
"The coronavirus epidemic is having a negative impact on economic activities, particularly on the transportation, tourism and industry sectors, particularly in China, and also increasingly in the Asian region and gradually in the world," he said.
Arkab, who is also the minister of energy of Algeria, added, "the situation is clear; it requires corrective action in the interest of all."
Ministers of OPEC and non-OPEC oil producing countries are scheduled meet in Vienna on March 5-6.
By Ovunc Kutlu