Title: Oil rebounds above $71 on Omicron hopes, Iran talks
Dec 06, 2021 04:35AM ET
Oil prices rose more than $1 a barrel to more than $71 on Monday as hopes that the variant of the Omicron coronavirus that causes only mild symptoms favoured riskier assets and the prospect of an early surge in Iranian oil exports seemed less likely.
Reports from South Africa that cases there had only mild symptoms helped calm Omicron concerns, and the top US infectious disease official told CNN that "it doesn't look like there's a high severity" so far.
At 0920 GMT, Brent crude was $1.77, or 2.5%, higher at $71.65, while US West Texas Intermediate crude was $1.69, or 2.6%, higher at $67.95. Both benchmarks fell for the sixth week in a row last week.
Calming Omicron fears, reports from South Africa said cases there had only mild symptoms, and the top US infectious disease official told CNN that so far it did not look like there was a severe case.
At 0920 GMT, Brent crude was $1.77, or 2.5 percent, higher at $71.65, while US West Texas Intermediate crude was $1.69, or 2.6 percent, higher at $67.95. Both benchmarks had fallen for a sixth straight session last week.
The easing of Omicron fears also boosted European stocks and safe havens such as bonds, which gave back some of their recent gains.
Brent has risen 38% this year on production cuts by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies (OPEC+) and recovering demand, although the price has retreated from a three-year high of over $86 in October.
OPEC+ decided last week to increase monthly output by 450,000 barrels a day in January, although prices had fallen on Omicron concerns.
On Sunday, Saudi Arabia raised official January selling prices for all crude sales to Asia and the United States by as much as 80 cents from the previous month.
Oil prices were also supported by fading prospects for a surge in Iranian oil exports after indirect talks between the United States and Iran on salvaging the 2015 nuclear deal collapsed last week.