Oil prices climb as Omicron fears moderate

2021-12-24 05:20

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NEW YORK, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) -- Oil prices advanced on Thursday as traders reassessed the risks of the Omicron variant.

The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for February delivery added 1.03 U.S. dollars, or 1.4 percent, to settle at 73.79 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for February delivery increased 1.56 dollars, or 2.1 percent, to close at 76.85 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.

Prices garnered some support from market optimism that the impact of the Omicron variant may not affect energy demand as much as feared, experts noted.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday authorized American pharmaceutical company Merck's oral antiviral for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19, the second pill approved for treating COVID-19 following the one from Pfizer.

A larger-than-expected drop in U.S. crude stockpiles also helped lift oil prices.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration on Wednesday said the nation's crude oil inventories decreased by 4.7 million barrels during the week ending Dec. 17. Analysts surveyed by S&P Global Platts had expected a decline of 3.9 million barrels in U.S. crude supplies.
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