MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude oil futures plunged in mid-morning trade in Asia Nov. 26 as investors were spooked by reports of a new COVID-19 variant from South Africa that appeared to evade immune responses, sparking a sharp sell-off in the broader financial markets, reported S&P Global.
At 10:05 am Singapore time (0205 GMT), the ICE January Brent futures contract was down USD1.13/b (1.37%) from the previous close at $81.09/b, while the NYMEX January light sweet crude contract was USD1.52/b (1.94%) lower at USD76.87/b.
"South Africa made headlines yesterday with reports about a new coronavirus variant, resulting in UK authorities banning flights and instituting quarantine measures for travelers from selected African countries," OCBC Research analysts said in a note.
Oil prices were falling in line with the broader financial markets as investors exited riskier assets following reports of the new virus variant.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 1.11% as of 0205 GMT, while Japan's Nikkei was down 2.29%.
"At present, there is just a small number of known cases and nothing is known about its transmissibility, a key factor determining whether variants flourish or wither. But the new variant is considered notable enough that it is being urgently investigated in terms of both its transmissibility and vaccine efficacy against it," ANZ analysts Brian Martin and Daniel Hynes said in a note.
The latest development will further cloud hopes of a swift economic recovery as vaccinations around the world pick up pace. Europe is in the midst of battling its fourth, or for some fifth, wave of COVID-19 infections, with Portugal the latest to reimpose fresh restrictions Nov. 25.
We remind that, as MRC informed before, earlier this month, TotalEnergies and Daimler Truck AG signed an agreement on their joint commitment to the decarbonization of the road freight in the European Union. The partners will collaborate in the development of ecosystems for heavy-duty trucks running on hydrogen, with the intent to demonstrate the attractiveness and effectiveness of trucking powered by clean hydrogen and the ambition to play a lead role in kickstarting the rollout of hydrogen infrastructure for transportation.
We also remind that TotalEnergies has recently inaugurated the extension of Synova in Normandy, the French leader in recycled polypropylene (PP) production. TotalEnergies is therefore doubling its mechanical recycling production capacity for recycled polymers, to meet growing demand for sustainable polymers from customers, such as Automotive Manufacturer (Auto OEM) and the construction industry.
According to MRC's ScanPlast report, PP shipments to the Russian market were 1,138,510 tonnes in January-September 2021, up by 30% year on year. Supply of propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) and block-copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymers) increased, whereas supply of injection moulding statistical copolymers of propylene (PP random copolymers) decreased significantly.