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Commodities

30 Nov 2021

Oil Prices Fell 3% Amid Nation’s Anxiety over Vaccine Efficacy

The Index Today

Oil prices fell more than 3% on Tuesday after Moderna's CEO cast doubt on the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines against the Omicron coronavirus variant, spooking financial markets and adding to worries about oil demand.

The head of drugmaker Moderna told the Financial Times that COVID-19 vaccines are unlikely to be as effective against the Omicron variant of the coronavirus as they have been against the Delta variant.

Brent crude futures fell $2.32, or 3.2%, to $71.12 a barrel at 0912 GMT after slipping to an intraday low of $70.52, the lowest since Sept. 1.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell $2.15, or 3.1%, to $67.80 a barrel, off a session low of $67.06, the weakest since Aug. 26.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will also tell U.S. lawmakers later in the day the variant could imperil economic recovery, prepared remarks show.

Paul Donovan from UBS said in a note, "The economic impact is driven by fear, and by the policy response... Fear is impacting travel. There are outright bans. But also the fear of being stranded which causes travel plans to alter."

Reuters added in their report that the oil plunged around 12% on Friday along with other markets on fears the heavily mutated Omicron would spark fresh lockdowns and dent global oil demand. It is still unclear how severe the new variant is.

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