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Oil Prices Up Amid Coronavirus, Venezuela Sanctions

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Feb. 19, 2020—Oil prices have risen for a seventh consecutive day after demand worries eased with a slowing of new coronavirus cases in China and supply was curtailed by a U.S. move to cut more Venezuelan crude from the market, reports Reuters. The global benchmark has risen nearly 10 percent since falling last week to its lowest this year.

According to the report, Brent LCOc1 was up 71 cents at $58.46 a barrel at 1510 GMT, while U.S. oil CLc1 was up 53 cents at $52.58 a barrel.

The report also states that China has imposed city lockdowns and travel restrictions to contain the coronavirus that has now killed more than 2,000 people, stoking concern over an economic slowdown and a hit to the oil demand.

This week, oil prices were also kept afloat by a U.S. decision to blacklist a trading subsidiary of Russia’s Rosneft (ROSN.MM), which President Donald Trump’s administration said provided a financial lifeline to Venezuela’s government.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has been withholding oil supply to support prices, and will meet next month to decide on a response to the downturn in demand resulting from the coronavirus epidemic.

On the other hand, the United States, which is not party to any supply cut agreements, oil production has been rising; U.S. shale production is expected to rise to a record 9.2 million barrels a day next month, according to the Energy Information Administration.

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