Oil prices fell on Friday, amid limited trading during the Christmas holidays after rising for three days, but crude is still heading towards recording weekly gains, while the market focuses on the next steps of the OPEC + group and the impact of the mutant Omicron.
Brent crude futures fell more than 1% below $76 a barrel, after gains of 2.1% in the previous session. Crude is still on track to record a weekly increase of about 4%.
Markets in the United States are closed on Friday, due to the Christmas holiday.
Oil prices rebounded this week, as concerns eased about the impact of the highly contagious mutant Omicron on the global economy, as preliminary data indicated it was causing milder symptoms.
“Investors remain cautious amid an increase in cases,” said Hiroyuki Kikukawa, general manager of research at Nissan Securities.
Infections with the Coronavirus have increased dramatically wherever the mutated mutator has moved, prompting many countries to impose new restrictions. On Thursday, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines announced the cancellation of dozens of Christmas Eve flights with the presence of mutant infections among flight crew members and workers.
But Kikukawa said, “However, given the rise in natural gas prices in Europe and Asia, oil will maintain a positive trend thanks to expectations of shifting some industries from high-priced gas to oil.”
An increase in the number of rigs in the United States also put pressure on the oil market. Baker Hughes Energy Services said the number of operating oil and gas rigs rose to its highest level since April 2020 in the latest week. The total number of rigs reached 586, which heralds an increase in production in the coming months.