Oil extends recovery as traders reassess virus threat to demand

Oil slides to near three-month lows as virus fear looms OPEC mulls emergency meeting

West Texas Intermediate crude eased 1.28 percent to $52.65 per barrel, while Brent crude, the global benchmark, was trending down 1.44 percent to $58.06 per barrel.

OIL resumed declines as the biggest jump in U.S. crude stockpiles in nearly three months added to concern over weak demand in a market already grappling with China's spreading coronavirus.

Countries have started isolating hundreds of citizens evacuated from the Chinese city of Wuhan on Thursday to stop the spread of an epidemic that has killed 170 people as worry about the impact on the world's second-biggest economy rattled markets.

Brent for March settlement advanced 0.9% to $60.04 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

GBP/USD: Sterling held near 1-week lows against dollar on Wednesday as investors awaited knife-edge rate decision by Bank of England. The dollar fell against the safe-haven yen, trading down 0.073 percent to 108.91. Money markets now price a 46% chance of a 25 basis point rate cut to the BoE's 0.75% policy rate - compared to around 70% at the start of last week.

US stock indexes retreated from early highs on Wednesday as a spate of disappointing earnings reports offset strong gains in Apple and Boeing, while investors assessed the economic impact of the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak.

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But now the rising death toll from the virus and its dispersion around the world has again turned screens red, with Asian stock markets down sharply. They dropped to 1.57% on Tuesday, the lowest since October 10, before bouncing sharply higher as stock markets rallied.

Brent crude futures jumped 90 cents to $59.19 a barrel by 0243 GMT, after falling 2.5 per cent the previous session.

Oil is heading for the biggest monthly drop since May as the virus crimps global travel and economic activity within China, the world's biggest energy consumer.

OPEC members are reportedly considering deeper production cuts, or extending their existing deal, in response to a slump in prices caused by the outbreak of coronavirus in China.

West Texas Intermediate for March delivery rose 49 cents to $53.97 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange as of 10:10 a.m. London time.

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