U.S. West Texas Intermediate and international-benchmark Brent crude oil futures are trading lower on Friday, however, momentum is clearly to the downside as traders continue to worry about the coronavirus’ impact on global demand. Both futures contracts are in a position to post their fourth consecutive weekly loss.
Early in the session, the markets were boosted by comments from the World Health Organization (WHO) that seemed to calm tensions. On Thursday, the WHO declared the coronavirus a global emergency, but calmed the markets by opposing travel restrictions. It also said Chinese actions so far will “reverse the tide” of the spread and that it declared the emergency to help those countries with weak health systems.
On Thursday, the WHO director-general said the greatest concern was the virus’ potential spread to countries with weaker healthcare systems, compounded by cases of person-to-person transfer of the virus outside China.
Meanwhile, economists have signaled the impact of the new virus could be worse than that of the Severe Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic in 2002-2003, which took 800 lives and cost the global economy and estimated $33 billion.
The death toll from the virus crossed the 200-mark in China with confirmed cases of infection reported in at least 22 other countries and regions.
Major airlines across the globe are suspending direct flights to and from mainland China causing…