The price of Texas intermediate oil (WTI) closed on Tuesday flat, keeping the barrel at $ 52.05, in a session marked again by the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the lack of action of the Organization of Exporting Countries of Oil (OPEC), which has not yet clarified whether it will increase production cuts.
At the end of the operations with live voice in the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex), WTI futures contracts for delivery in March were flat with respect to the previous session on Friday (Monday was a holiday in the US), although during the session it came down to $ 51.15 a barrel.
Oil prices, which traced in the hours before closing, have once again been marked by negative forecasts regarding the fall in fuel demand in China, the world’s largest consumer.
For now, the International Energy Agency has cut its forecast for fuel demand and expects a decrease compared to the first quarter of last year of 435,000 barrels per day.
At the same time, experts predict that the deterioration in demand will continue during the next weeks and even months, in a period that is expected of some uncertainty.
So far, COVID-19 has caused in China at least 1,868 deaths and 72,436 infections, mostly in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak.
Likewise, the oil markets are still waiting for the measures that OPEC can take, which has not yet been revealed if it will further increase its production cuts to compensate for low Chinese demand and support the price of crude oil worldwide.
In this sense, one of the main allies of OPEC, Russia, has not ruled on this, although analysts say that the main OPEC countries would be trying to get the country of Putin to accept a “deep” cut in production of crude
OPEC Energy Ministers and their allies will meet on March 6 in Vienna, as planned, without seemingly going to advance the meeting, as some experts had considered last week.
In this context, gasoline futures contracts with maturity in March totaled three cents to $ 1.61 a gallon, and natural gas contracts, with maturities the same month, added thirteen cents to $ 1.97 per thousand. cubic feet.