Oil prices edge higher but investor worries on Omicron spread remain

Oil gains as investors see limited Omicron impact on demand

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Tokyo: Oil prices continued their upward trend on Monday as investor interest has improved, because the Omicron coronavirus variant may not cause serious illness and may have a limited impact on global fuel demand.

At 0500 GMT, Brent crude oil futures rose 94 cents, or 1.3%, to $76.09 per barrel, and rose 1% on Friday.

US West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil (WTI) rose 1.05 US dollars, or 1.5%, to 72.72 US dollars per barrel, up 1% in the previous trading day.

Both benchmarks posted gains of about 8% last week, their first weekly gain in seven. They have recovered more than half the losses suffered since Omicron headlines first hit Nov. 25.

“There was a growing sense of relief as the risk of serious illness in the Omicron was seen as low,” said Tatsufumi Okoshi, senior economist at Nomura Securities.

“Market focus has shifted to the next action by OPEC+,” he said.

They said on Friday that South African scientists have seen no signs of more serious diseases caused by the Omicron variant, because officials announced plans to launch a vaccine booster, and the daily infection rate is close to the highest level in history.

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