Crude oil futures contracts gained during the Asian trade session on Wednesday. However gains are being capped as traders continue to worry about the global economic impact from the coronavirus.
New cases, of the deadly outbreak, seemingly fell for the second day in a row in China. However, economic effects are just starting to be felt as China tries to reopen production.
As of 2 am GMT, the international benchmark for oil traders, the Brent crude futures contract was trading higher. This contract added six cents to trade at $57.81 a barrel.
The U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures contract was up seven cents to fetch $51.97 per barrel.
Both oil contracts fell at the start of the trade session.
China Struggles to reopen Factories and Stores
China is starting to restart manufacturing centers that had been shuttered thanks to the coronavirus. China had imposed city wide closures and travel restrictions to contain the spread of the deadly outbreak.
Chinese health officials said that the number of new cases in the Hubei province fell for a second day in a row. However, the World Health Organization is cautioning there is not enough data to determine if the number of new cases has peaked or not.
Crude Oil Traders Turn to OPEC Headlines
The price of the black gold has fallen eight percent this year. If prices take another turn lower, this could force the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and their non-member allies led by Russia, called the OPEC+, to initiate deeper production and supply cuts.
OPEC + member nations have been withholding production for the better part of two years in order to boost the global oil markets and reduce a supply glut.
In not very good news for oil, Japan released export data, for January, that were well below forecasts and contracting for the 14th month in a row. Capital spending in the Asian region’s second largest economy continues to fall.