Oil closed on a fall this Thursday, 9th, and ended a rally of three consecutive high sessions. Investors pocketed profits as they watched the adoption of mobility restrictions in some European countries because of the spread of the Ômicron variant of the coronavirus. The stronger dollar ahead of US inflation data also put pressure on the commodity’s contracts.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex), the barrel of WTI oil with delivery scheduled for January retreated 1.96% (US$ 1.42), to US$ 70.94, while that of Brent for the following month dropped 1, 85% (US$1.40), at US$74.42, on the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE).
Among the main headlines related to the health crisis and the new strain, the United Kingdom confirmed measures restricting the presence of unvaccinated against covid-19 in some establishments, and Denmark banned the operation of restaurants, nightclubs and bars after the midnight.
“Although conclusive evidence has yet to be compiled to indicate the severity of the variant, a recent Japanese study found that Ômicron is 4.2 times more transmissible in its early stage than the delta variant,” highlights Stifel in a report, echoing recent restrictions adopted because of the new strain of coronavirus.
According to TD Securities, the variant’s high transferability could result in further restrictions in the coming weeks and months. The Canadian bank, however, emphasizes that the risks of an increase in the global supply of oil have reduced, with signs that negotiations for the resumption of the nuclear agreement have not progressed, in addition to an “extra limited capacity” of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (Opep+).
Uncertainties over Ômicron not only curbed appetite for oil contracts, but also benefited from a cautious stance that strengthened the dollar in the forex market. The appreciation of the American currency tends to put pressure on the commodity, as it makes it more expensive and less attractive to holders of other currencies.
The American currency also reacted to expectations for the release of the consumer inflation index (CPI) for November in the US, which comes out on Friday. A reading that shows acceleration could reinforce the more aggressive monetary tightening considered by the Federal Reserve (Fed, the central bank of the United States), which should give even more strength to the dollar, if confirmed.
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