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OPEC considering moving March 5 meeting forward due to coronavirus impact: officials

Highlights

Decision 'in the coming days': minister

Crude prices, jet fuel demand fall

London — OPEC is in discussions to bring forward its scheduled March 5-6 meeting as the oil market continues to be buffeted by the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak.

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Algerian energy minister Mohamed Arkab said Wednesday a decision would be made "in the coming days."

"It is very likely to advance to February the OPEC meeting, initially scheduled for the beginning of March, so that we can find the means to ensure market balance," he said, according to state news agency APS.

OPEC and 10 allies agreed in December to implement 1.7 million b/d of production cuts for the first three months of 2020 and to meet March 5-6 in Vienna to decide on any next steps.

But with the coronavirus spreading and oil prices falling sharply due to concerns about the state of the Chinese economy – the outbreak began in the city of Wuhan – and jet fuel demand, the coalition appears set to be spurred into speedier action, with sources saying deeper cuts could be considered.

One delegate told S&P Global Platts the OPEC secretariat was preparing a report on the impact of the coronavirus for members to consider.

OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo could not be reached for comment Wednesday.