Oil nears one-month high as Omicron concerns allay

An aerial view shows an Idemitsu Kosan Co. oil plant in Ichihara, east of Tokyo, Japan, Nov. 12, 2021, in this photo taken by Kyodo. Mandatory Credit Kyodo / via REUTERS

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  • US crude rises for 5th consecutive session, near one-month high
  • Prices supported by allaying concerns about the Omicron coronavirus

SINGAPORE, Dec.28 (Reuters) – Oil gained ground on Tuesday as prices traded near the month-long high of last session, given expectations that the Omicron coronavirus variant will only have limited impact on global demand.

Brent crude rose 7 cents, or 0.1%, to $ 78.67 a barrel as of 1:15 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 near Monday’s peaks, their highest prices since late November.

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England will not get any new COVID-19 restrictions until the end of 2021, UK Health Minister Sajid Javid said on Monday, as the government awaits more evidence on whether health services can cope with high infection rates. Read more

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

Oil prices have risen by around 50% this year, supported by renewed 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 January 4, at which the alliance decides to go ahead with a planned production increase of 400,000 barrels per day in February.

At its last meeting, OPEC + stuck to its plans to increase production for January despite Omicron.

Fund managers increased their net long positions in US crude futures and options during the week to December 21, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission said on Monday.

The speculative group increased its combined position on futures and options in New York and London from 4,634 contracts to 259,093 during the period.

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Reporting by Naveen Thukral; edited by Richard Pullin

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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