Coronavirus is a threat to oil markets

Oil demand causes market moves and China's oil demand tops that of the U.S.

Oil prices are set to fall for the week mainly due to concerns over the coronavirus.

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The deadly virus is keeping oil prices low on concerns demand will fall, with a big impact on travel as people stay put.

Brent crude futures were up 24 cents, or 0.4 percent, at $62.28 a barrel after falling 1.9 percent the previous session. For the week, Brent is down 4 percent..

U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures were 24 cents, or 0.4 percent, higher at $55.83 a barrel. The contract fell 2 percent on Thursday and is 5 percent lower for the week.

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The virus has infected more than 830 so far in China, with 26 dead as of Thursday, according to China's National Health Commission.

The oil markets are obsessed with China—specifically China’s demand for oil, according to Oilprice.com.

Health Officials in hazmat suits check body temperatures of passengers arriving from the city of Wuhan Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, at the airport in Beijing, China. Nearly two decades after the disastrously-handled SARS epidemic, China’s more-open resp

Oil demand causes market moves and China's oil demand tops that of the U.S.

CORONAVIRUS DEAL TOLL RISES AS CHINA LOCKS DOWN AT LEAST THREE CITIES

China’s oil demand grows at an annual rate of 5.5 percent, while the U.S. oil demand has been growing by 0.5 percent.

History has shown the impact that a virus can have on oil prices. The original SARS virus in 2002 sent oil prices down 20 percent, according to Oilprice.com.

CORONOAVIRUS PROTECTIONS SOUGHT BY AMERICAN AIRLINES FLIGHT ATTENDANTS

Because of the impact a virus can have on traveling, Goldman Sachs said the oil market could see a drop of 260,000 barrels per day in the global oil demand market—170,000 bpd of which would be in the form of jet fuel.

This is happening ahead of the start of the Chinese New Year holiday, a big travel time.

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The travel restrictions in cities will affect tens of millions of people. Flights, trains, buses, subways, ferries, and for-hire cars have also been suspended. That will  have an immediate effect on fuel consumption.