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Oil loses gains as coronavirus deaths reach daily high

ANKARA

Crude oil prices started Thursday having lost some gains with the daily record high in deaths from the coronavirus outbreak in China, while reviving worries over low oil demand.

In China’s Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, the number of deaths reached a daily record high of 242 to 1,310, with the number of cases increasing by nearly ten-fold in a day.

With low oil demand worries, Brent crude was trading at $55.62 per barrel at 0710 GMT on Thursday for a 1.33% loss after closing Wednesday at $56.37 a barrel.

American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $51.14 a barrel at the same time for a 0.64% decline after ending the previous session at $51.47 per barrel.

Brent crude soared by 4.37% and WTI jumped by 3.06% on Wednesday when the number of new cases at 97 marked the slowest growth rate since Jan. 31, and eased worries of a decline in global oil demand in the first quarter of 2020.

On the supply side, however, rising crude oil inventories and production in the U.S. have reignited concerns that oversupply could weigh on prices this year.

Crude oil stocks in the U.S. increased by 7.5 million barrels last week, much higher than the market estimate of a 1.7 million barrel rise, while crude production climbed back to an all-time highest level of 13 million barrels per day for week ending Feb. 7.

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