Oil prices steadied on Monday in Asia after posting a fifth straight weekly loss.
Combined losses over five weeks stood at more than 22% for both benchmarks, leaving them into bear market territory.
“Oil prices can’t shake off the coronavirus,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst for energy at the Price Futures Group in Chicago.
“Conflicting reports about how well the virus is being contained is raising fears about economic growth” even as OPEC struggles to find a way to prevent the market from collapsing, Flynn said.
The coronavirus outbreak which has killed more than 900 people and infected 40,000 people in China continues to be cited as a major headwind for the oil market.
Meanwhile, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak stalled in giving his government’s assent to suggestions from OPEC that the group and its allies would cut an additional 600,000 barrels per day in supply. He noted that Moscow needed more time to assess the situation, adding that U.S. crude production growth would slow and global demand was still solid.