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Omicron Concerns Make Oil Settle for Higher

Despite the rapid spread of the Omicron coronavirus type, oil prices finished higher on Tuesday, with Brent crude ending the session near $80 a barrel, buoyed by supply disruptions and forecasts that US stocks declined last week. By 1:39 p.m.

EST, Brent crude had gained 34 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $78.94 per barrel (1839 GMT). The price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil in the United States rose 41 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $75.98. Strength in US equities helped both contracts trade at their best levels in a month.

Omicron Concerns Make Oil Settle for HigherDue to the maintenance concerns and oilfield shutdowns, the three oil companies declared force majeure on a portion of their oil production this month. According to a preliminary Reuters poll released on Monday, crude oil stocks in the United States are expected to fall for the fifth week in a row, while gasoline inventories were largely steady last week. Sajid Javid, the British health minister, said on Monday that England will not face any new COVID-19 limits before the end of 2021, as the government awaits more information on whether the health service can manage with high infection rates.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden promised to address a COVID-19 test shortage as the Omicron form threatens to overrun hospitals and hamper travel plans. OPEC+ will meet on January 4 to discuss whether to proceed with a planned production rise of 400,000 barrels per day in February, according to investors. OPEC+, despite Omicron, persisted to its plans to increase output in January at its recent meeting. The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission said on Monday that money managers increased their net long positions in US crude futures and options in the week ending December 21.

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