Oil near one-month high on easing concerns over Omicron

SINGAPORE: gained more ground on Tuesday with prices trading close to last session’s one-month high on expectations that the Omicron coronavirus variant will have only a limited impact on global demand.

Brent crude rose 7 cents, or 0.1%, to $78.67 a barrel, by 0115 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 18 cents, or 0.2%, to $75.75 a barrel, gaining for a fifth straight session.

Both markets were trading close to Monday’s peaks, their highest prices since late November.

England will not get any new COVID-19 restrictions before the end of 2021, British health minister Sajid Javid said on Monday, as the government awaits more evidence on whether the health service can cope with high infection rates.

However, more than 1,300 flights were cancelled by U.S. airlines on Sunday as COVID-19 reduced the number of available crews while several cruise ships had to cancel stops.

Oil prices have risen around 50% this year, supported by recovering demand and supply cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, collectively known as OPEC+.

Investors are awaiting an OPEC+ meeting on Jan. 4, at which the alliance will decide whether to go ahead with a planned 400,000 barrels-per-day production increase in February.

At its last meeting, OPEC+ stuck to its plans to boost output for January despite Omicron.

Money managers raised their net long U.S. crude futures and options positions in the week to Dec. 21, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said on Monday.

The speculator group raised its combined futures and options position in New York and London by 4,634 contracts to 259,093 during the period.

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