February 28, 2020 / 11:18 AM / 5 months ago

OPEC leaning towards larger oil cuts as virus hits prices, demand -sources

* Extra cut could amount to 1 mln bpd -sources

* Panel previously recommended extra cut of 600,000 bpd

* Saudi Arabia already said to be cutting supply to China

* OPEC, allies meet on March 5-6 in Vienna

By Alex Lawler and Dmitry Zhdannikov

LONDON, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Several key OPEC members are leaning towards a bigger than previously expected oil output cut, four sources with knowledge of the talks said, as oil prices fell to $50 per barrel on fears the coronavirus outbreak will hit oil demand badly.

Members including Saudi Arabia are considering agreeing an output cut of 1 million barrels per day for the second quarter of 2020, more than an initially proposed cut of 600,000 bpd, the sources said.

The Financial Times newspaper was first to report the deeper cut idea.

The virus has caused almost 2,800 deaths in China and has spread to dozens of other countries.

Oil has slid by almost 25% this year on lower demand and slower expected economic growth, alarming OPEC members.

OPEC and allies including Russia, a grouping known as OPEC+, are curbing oil output by 1.7 million barrels per day (bpd) until the end of March.

They are scheduled to meet on March 5-6 in Vienna to decide further policy.

Additional reporting by Rania el Gamal, Ahmad Ghaddar and Olesya Astakhova; writing by Alex Lawler, editing by Jason Neely

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