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13 Dec 2021

Oil Steadies but Omicron Risks and Vaccine Doubts Weigh on Prices

The Index Today

Oil was seen steady on Monday, but the new concerns about the Omicron coronavirus variant and doubts around the effectiveness of vaccines against the new variant were weighing on prices.

Brent Crude was up by 6 cents, or 0.1%, at $75.21 a barrel by 0947 GMT, and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) gained 9 cents, or 0.1%, to $71.76 a barrel. Both benchmarks posted gains of about 8% last week, their first weekly gain in seven.

Tamas Varga, oil analyst at London brokerage PVM Oil Associates said that the major oil contracts registered decent weekly gains, but it is noticeable that current prices are still way below the pre-Omicron levels.

World Health Organization said that the Omicron coronavirus variant, reported in more than 60 countries, poses a "very high" global risk, with some evidence that it evades vaccine protection.

Oxford University also said vaccines showed to induce lower levels of protection against Omicron.

Producers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, next meet on Jan. 4 having agreed earlier this month to stick to their existing policy of monthly oil output increases.

Iraq's oil minister said on Sunday he expected OPEC at its next meeting to maintain its current policy of gradual monthly increases in supply by 400,000 bpd.

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