Oil prices fell to their lowest in seven weeks on Thursday on concerns that the spread of a newly identified respiratory virus from China may lower fuel demand at the same time a report showed oil inventories in the United States rose last week, Trend reports citing Reuters.
The so-called novel coronavirus has killed 17 people because of respiratory illness since it emerged late last year in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The potential for a pandemic has stirred memories of the Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic in 2002-2003, which also started in China, and dented economic growth and led to a slump in travel.
Brent crude futures LCOc1 were down $1.05, or 1.7%, to $62.16 a barrel by 0125 GMT, and earlier dropped to the lowest since Dec. 4, after falling 2.1% the previous session.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures CLc1 fell 95 cents, or 1.7%, to $55.78 a barrel after earlier falling to the lowest since Dec. 3. The contract declined 2.7% on Wednesday.
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