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Oil still below $30 on global coronavirus impacts

Oil prices steadied on Wednesday after slipping to new four-year lows, sapped by fears for fuel demand and the global economy amid travel and social lockdowns triggered by the coronavirus epidemic.

Brent crude LCOc1 was up by 34 cents, or 1.2%, at $29.07 a barrel by 0238 GMT, after falling earlier to $28.40, the lowest since early 2016. The international benchmark fell 4.3% on Tuesday. U.S. crude Clc1 was up by 13 cents, or 0.5%, at $27.08 a barrel, after falling to as low as $26.20, also the lowest in four years.

West Texas Intermediate fell 6% on Tuesday. “Demand growth is set to recover from H2 2020, as the impact of COVID-19 fades and affected economies post v-shaped recoveries,” Fitch Solutions said in a note.

“However, the combination of the oil price collapse and spread of the virus has raised global recession risks,” it said, slashing its forecast for Brent this year from an average of $62 previously to an average of $43.

A fall in U.S. inventories of crude, gasoline and distillates, as reported by an industry group, provided some support to prices, but the demand outlook remains grim amid a price war among major producers.