Crude oil prices Tuesday hit a month high as concerns over the Omicron variant of coronavirus eased despite flight cancellations.
As of 1120 hours GMT, Brent, the international benchmark for two-thirds of the world’s oil, gained $0.93 (+1.18 percent) to reach $79.53 a barrel. On the other hand, the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) price reached $76.64 a barrel, up by $1.07 (+1.42 percent). The price for Opec Basket was recorded at $74.23 a barrel, Arab Light was available at $77.54 and the price of Russian Sokol remained $77.87 a barrel. No change was recorded in the prices of these three benchmarks.
Oil, which plunged by more than 10 percent on November 26 when reports of the new coronavirus variant first appeared, gained last week after early data suggested that Omicron could cause a milder level of illness. Brent has risen by more than 45 percent this year, supported by recovering demand and supply cuts by the OPEC+. The OPEC+ is also set to meet on January 4 to decide whether to go with the proposed increase of 0.4 million barrels of oil per day amid the lockdowns imposed in different countries.
Over 2,350 flights have been cancelled and nearly 6,100 delayed, with Chinese and US airlines responsible for the majority of the interruptions, according to a data tracking website. The massive disruption in the US reportedly occurred due to crew members testing positive or isolating.
All in all, around 8,000 flights were grounded over the Christmas weekend that started on Friday last.