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Oil Up, but Omicron Concerns Remain

CommoditiesDec 20, 2021 11:15PM ET
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By Gina Lee – Oil was up Tuesday morning in Asia, although concerns about the rapid spread of the omicron COVID-19 variant globally remain. More countries are considering restrictions that could potentially dent fuel demand.

Brent oil futures rose 0.81% to $72.10 by 11:11 PM ET (4:11 AM GMT) and WTI futures jumped 1.08% to $69.39.

"It also looks increasingly likely that the U.K. will reimpose restrictions sometime after Boxing Day (Dec. 26), with daily cases moving to record highs," JBC Energy analysts said in a note.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday he would tighten restrictive measures to slow omicron’s spread if needed. Elsewhere in Europe, the Netherlands is under its fourth lockdown and other European nations are considering Christmas restrictions.

In the U.S., omicron accounted for 73% of all sequenced COVID-19 cases in the U.S., according to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates. The delta variant has now receded to roughly 27% of sequenced cases, the estimates added.

Omicron infections are spreading rapidly across Europe and the U.S., doubling every two or three days in London and elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Moderna Inc. (NASDAQ:MRNA) said on Monday that a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine appeared to provide protection against omicron in laboratory testing.

On the supply front, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (OPEC+)’s compliance with oil production cuts rose to 117% in November from 116% the month before, according to Reuters. This indicates that production levels remain well below agreed targets.

Investors now await U.S. crude oil supply data from the American Petroleum Institute, due later in the day.

Oil Up, but Omicron Concerns Remain

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