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Oil Futures End Higher For 3rd Straight Day

Crude oil prices edged higher on Thursday despite lingering concerns about the outlook for energy demand.

While fears about the spread of coronavirus and its impact on the global economy weighed on prices, hopes that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies would deepen production cuts supported crude prices.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March ended up $0.25, or about 0.5%, at $51.42 a barrel.

On Wednesday, WTI Crude oil futures for March ended up $1.23, or about 2.5%, at $51.17 a barrel.

China's Hubei province said on Thursday the number of new confirmed coronavirus cases there jumped by 14,840 to 48,206 on Wednesday and that deaths climbed by a daily record of 242 to 1,310.

OPEC has lowered its forecast for oil demand growth this year, saying the coronavirus outbreak has added to the uncertainties surrounding global economic growth in 2020.

The International Energy Agency expects oil demand to fall for the first time in a decade in the first quarter of this year. The IEA, which expects demand to pick from the second quarter, has cut its full-year global growth forecast to 825,000 barrels per day.

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