MOSCOW (MRC) -- Oil prices settled more than 3% higher on Tuesday, rebounding on renewed risk appetite the day after a sharp fall, but investors remained cautious as the Omicron coronavirus variant cut holiday travel plans, dimming the near-term fuel demand outlook, reported Reuters.
“This is a pragmatic market that wants to be bullish but knows relief rallies, like the one this morning, will not last,” said Tamas Varga, oil analyst at London brokerage PVM Oil Associates.
“The upside is likely to be limited and more restrictions will be greeted with renewed selling,” he added.
Brent crude settled up USD2.46, or 3.4%, at USD73.98 a barrel, and US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose USD2.51, or 3.7%, to USD71.12 a barrel.
Countries across Europe were considering new curbs on movement as the fast-moving Omicron variant swept the world days before Christmas, throwing travel plans into chaos and unnerving financial markets.
“Measures are likely to be temporary thanks to the rapid rollout of boosters in many countries, not to mention the number of people that will contract it if it continues to spread at the rate it has,” said Craig Erlam, senior analyst at OANDA.
Omicron infections are multiplying rapidly across Europe, the United States and Asia.
Still, Moderna Inc stirred hope on Monday when it said a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine appeared to protect against the Omicron variant in laboratory testing.
On the supply front, OPEC+ compliance with oil production cuts rose to 117% in November from 116% a month earlier, two sources from the group told Reuters, indicating production levels remain well below agreed targets.
US crcrude oil inventories were expected to have fallen for a fourth consecutive week, while distillate and gasoline stockpiles likely rose, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Monday.
As MRC informed before, US commercial crude stocks fell 3.48 million barrels to 413.96 million barrels in the week ended Sept. 17, to more than 8% below the five-year average, Energy Information Administration data showed. Stocks were last lower Oct. 5, 2018.
We remind that in late August, 2021, US crude stocks dropped sharply while petroleum products supplied by refiners hit an all-time record despite the rise in coronavirus cases nationwide, the Energy Information Administration said. Crude inventories fell by 7.2 million barrels in the week to Aug. 27 to 425.4 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 3.1 million-barrel drop. Product supplied by refineries, a measure of demand, rose to 22.8 million barrels per day in the most recent week. That's a one-week record, and signals strength in consumption for diesel, gasoline and other fuels by consumers and exporters.
We also remind that US crude oil production is expected to fall by 160,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2021 to 11.12 million bpd, EIA said in a monthly report earlier this year, a smaller decline than its previous forecast for a drop of 210,000 bpd.