Oil raised back above $50 a barrel as investors waited to see whether Russia would accept an OPEC+ plan for production cuts. Moscow started to study the proposal, to curb crude output by a further 600,000 barrels a day, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in a statement that didn’t specify when Russia would decide. Meanwhile, an American Petroleum Institute report that showed U.S. crude inventories rose by 6 million barrels last week highlighted the weak global demand outlook.
Oil appears to have found a floor around the $50-a-barrel mark as investors assess whether the economic impact of the virus will worsen and if the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies will respond. Saudi Arabia has been leading the push for more production cuts, while Russia, whose budget is more resilient to lower oil prices, is proceeding with caution.
West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery rose 1.5% to $50.67 a barrel. Brent climbed 2% to $55.11 a barrel.
The EIA cut its first-quarter global consumption forecast for petroleum and liquids by 880,000 barrels a day to 100.26 million due to the effects of the coronavirus and a warmer than usual winter, it said in its monthly short-term energy outlook report.