Oil prices edged higher on Friday. This was after Russia said it would support a recommendation for OPEC and other producers to cut their output further. Especially amid falling demand for crude as China battles the coronavirus epidemic.
Brent crude futures rose 10 cents, or 0.2%, to $55.03 a barrel by 0732 GMT. However, they were heading for a fifth weekly loss amid lingering fears over the impact of the virus. WTI crude futures were up 6 cents, or 0.1%, at $51.01 a barrel. They were also heading for a fifth consecutive week of losses.
Prices came off earlier highs in the session. This was after China's central bank governor said the world's second-biggest economy may experience disruptions in the first quarter. While Japan announced a big jump in confirmed coronavirus cases among thousands of passengers confined to a cruise liner off its coast.
A panel advising the Russia-led OPEC+ group, suggested provisionally cutting output by 600,000 bpd, sources told Reuters on Thursday.
"We support this idea," said Sergei Lavrov, Russia's Foreign Minister, commenting on the proposal at a news conference in Mexico later in the day.
The OPEC+ group, which pumps more than 40% of the world's oil, has been withholding supply. It also agreed to deepen the cuts by 500,000 bpd earlier this year, to 1.7 million bpd, nearly 2% of global demand.
Oil prices have fallen by more than a fifth since the outbreak of the virus in Wuhan, China.