Oil prices fell on Friday to extend losses from the previous session, though the downside remained limited after the World Health Organization (WHO) stopped short of calling the virus outbreak in China a global emergency and data showed a modest upturn in business activity across Germany’s private sector.
Benchmark Brent crude slid 0.2 percent to $61.92 per barrel, after having tumbled 1.8 percent on Thursday. U.S. crude futures were down 0.15 percent, at $55.51, after having closed 1.9 percent lower the previous day on concerns that the spread of coronavirus could weigh on global growth and lower fuel demand.
The WHO on Thursday declined to designate the ongoing outbreak of a novel virus in China a global health emergency, saying that, for now, health officials have enough resources to combat the outbreak there and in other countries.
At least 25 people, who were infected by the coronavirus, have died so far as the disease continues to spread.
Data showing a drop in U.S. crude stockpiles also helped limit overall losses to some extent. Data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed that crude oil inventories in the U.S. fell by 405,000 barrels in the week ended January 17.