- Brent crude slipped to $54.23 a barrel by 0945 GMT, down 24 cents orÂ 0.4%.
- U.S. West Texas Intermediate fell 25 cents or 0.5% to $50.07 aÂ barrel.
Oil prices slipped on Monday on weaker ChineseÂ oil demand in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and as traders waited to seeÂ if Russia would join other producers in seeking further output cuts.
Oil has dropped more than 20% from a peak in January after the spreadingÂ virus hit demand in the world’s largest oil importer and fuelled concerns ofÂ excess supplies.
“The question everyone is desperate to find the correct answer to is howÂ damaging the epidemic is to the global economy and therefore to oil demand andÂ how long it will last,” said oil broker PVM’s Tamas Varga.
“No-one knows but as of today the crisis has not been contained, it isÂ spreading and it has already claimed more lives than the SARS virus in 2003.”
Beijing has orchestrated support for its companies and financial markets inÂ the past week and investors are hoping for more stimulus to lift the world’sÂ second-biggest economy.
Worries over supply were not alleviated on Friday when Russia said it neededÂ more time to decide on a recommendation from a technical committee that hasÂ advised the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies toÂ cut production by a further 600,000 barrels per day (bpd).
The group, known as OPEC+, has been implementing cuts of 1.2 million bpdÂ since January 2019.
Algeria’s oil minister Mohamed Arkab said on Sunday the committee hadÂ advised further output cuts until the end of the second quarter.
“The coronavirus epidemic has a negative impact on economic activities,Â especially on the transport, tourism and industry, in China particularly, andÂ also increasingly in the Asian region and gradually in the world,” Arkab said.
Russia Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Moscow needed more time toÂ assess the situation, adding that U.S. crude production growth would slow andÂ global demand was still solid.
“The oil market will be waiting on Russia’s response, to see if the OPEC+Â can prove itself as being proactive producer group in dealing the coronavirusÂ virus outbreak which, like SARS, is effectively a negative demand shock,” BNPÂ Paribas analyst Harry Tchilinguirian told the Reuters Global Oil Forum.
Oil traders also said they were concerned the proposed reduction would notÂ be sufficient to tighten global markets as China’s state refiners have said theyÂ would cut refining throughput by about 940,000 bpd this month.