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Omicron Concerns Keep Crude Oil Futures Steady

Crude Oil futures were fairly steady in Asia during mid-morning trade on Jan. 10, erasing significant losses earlier in the trading session as oil prices’ upward momentum held intact despite a persistent rise of COVID-19 cases worldwide. The ICE March Brent futures contract was up 7 cents/b (0.09 percent) from its previous closing of $81.82/b at 10:13 a.m. Singapore time (0213 GMT), after plunging by nearly 50 cents/b earlier in the morning.

The February light sweet crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange declined 2 cents/b (0.03 percent) to $78.88/b. In Asia’s early morning session, both Brent and WTI were trading lower. Because China is the world’s top Crude Oil importer, this poses a threat to oil demand. China is currently dealing with a new COVID-19 outbreak that has spread across multiple provinces, the most recent being a cluster discovered over the weekend in the northern city of Tianjin, which contained two omicron cases.

Omicron Concerns Keep Crude Oil Futures SteadyWhile no citywide lockdown has been issued, the city’s 14 million citizens have been instructed to stay at home and are prohibited from using public transportation until a negative test result can be produced. China reported 92 locally transmitted cases nationwide as of Jan. 8, according to the latest data from the country’s National Health Commission, down three from the day before.

Over the last week, India has seen a substantial increase in COVID-19 cases, while caseloads in the United States have remained at critical levels. The Chevron-led operating consortium Tengizchevroil of Kazakhstan’s Tengiz oil field said Jan. 9 that production was gradually returning to normal after protests at the site delayed operations in the week ended Jan. 7.

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