Oil held its biggest loss in almost seven weeks as investors attempted to gauge the economic consequences of the fast-spreading coronavirus and whether it would become a global pandemic.
Futures in New York edged higher after tumbling 3.7% Monday amid a broad market selloff driven by a sharp uptick in cases and deaths from the virus in South Korea, the Middle East and Europe. At least 12 people have died in Iran and Kuwait and Bahrain confirmed their first cases, with the head of the World Health Organization calling the outbreak’s spread “deeply concerning.”
West Texas Intermediate for April delivery rose 0.4% to $51.61 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange as of 9:28 a.m. in Singapore. It slumped $1.95 on Monday to close at $51.43, the lowest since Feb. 13.
Brent for April settlement added 0.4% to $56.54 on the ICE Futures Europe exchange after falling 3.8% on Monday. The global crude benchmark traded at a $4.94 premium to WTI.