Oil prices rose on Thursday for a third day in a row, supported by a weaker dollar on optimism about global growth, even as governments from Australia to Europe ramped up restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the Omicron strain of the Corona virus.
By 4:02 GMT, US West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 22 cents, or 0.22%, to $ 72.98 a barrel, after jumping 2.3%, in the previous session.
Brent crude futures rose 24 cents, also equivalent to 0.24%, to $ 75.53 a barrel, after rising 1.8 percent, in the previous session.
Wednesday’s big gains were partly driven by a larger-than-expected drop in US crude stocks last week.
The dollar’s decline supports the oil markets, as it makes commodities cheaper for holders of other currencies. The dollar fell close to a one-week low after data on Wednesday showed US consumer confidence improved more-than-expected in December.
The rise in oil came despite governments re-imposing restrictions to slow the spread of Omicron. On Wednesday, the Chinese city of Xi’an ordered its 13 million residents to stay at home. And Scotland imposed restrictions on the number of participants in gatherings from December 26 for three weeks. And two Australian states have re-commanded their residents to wear masks, with the increase in cases.
The market did not care about the potential impact of movement restrictions on fuel demand because the OPEC + group, which is made up of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Russia and allies, left the door open to reconsidering its plan to add 400,000 barrels per day to supplies in January.
“It is still possible that the omicron could lead to more restrictive measures across Europe and Asia, but prices will not collapse because OPEC + can easily adjust its production levels,” Oanda analyst Edward Moya said in a note.