Oil prices rose Monday, expanding last Friday’s gains, aided by growing optimism that the Omicron variant’s coronavirus variant will have limited impact on global economic growth and fuel demand.
Brent futures rose 53 cents, or 0.7%, to $ 75.68 a barrel by 0100 GMT after rising 1% on Friday.
OIL RESERVES RELEASED BY BIDEN WILL BE DELETED FORWARD TO CHINA, INDIA
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was up 69 cents, or 1.0%, to $ 72.36 a barrel, after rising 1% in the previous session.
Both benchmarks were up about 8% last week, their first weekly increase in seven. They have made up for more than half the losses since the November 25th Omicron outbreak.
“Market sentiment has improved as the threat posed by the Omicron variant has subsided,” said Toshitaka Tazawa, an analyst at Fujitomi Securities Co Ltd.
“WTI will likely test its recent high of $ 73.34 and then attempt to climb to $ 78, the level before Omicron fears led to a sharp sell-off late last month,” he said.
LOWER OIL PRICES AS DATA SHOWS BIG BUILD IN US INVENTORY
South African scientists see no evidence that the Omicron variant causes more serious illness, they said Friday as officials announced plans to launch vaccine boosters with daily infections approaching all-time highs.
Booster Covid-19 shots significantly restore protection against minor diseases caused by the Omicron variant, the British health authority announced on Friday.
Nonetheless, investors remained cautious on the US-led coordinated release of crude oil reserves by oil-consuming countries and the tensions between Russia and Ukraine.
The US Department of Energy announced Friday that it would sell 18 million barrels of crude oil from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) on December 17, as part of an earlier plan to cut gasoline prices.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT FOX BUSINESS
On Sunday, the Group of Seven warned in a statement that Russia would face massive consequences and high costs if President Vladimir Putin attacks Ukraine.
The US secret service estimates that Russia could plan a multifront offensive against Ukraine with up to 175,000 soldiers as early as next year.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi oil minister said on Sunday that he expected the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to maintain its current policy of gradually increasing supply by 400,000 bpd a month at its next meeting.