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Title: Oil sheds early gains as caution returns over Omicron curbs

Dec 23, 2021 03:40AM ET

By: AnalysisWatch

Oil prices gave back their initial gains on Thursday as countries imposed new travel restrictions to combat the surge, although the downward trend remained limited due to positive developments around COVID-19.

At 0810 GMT, US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 12 cents, or 0.1%, to $72.62 a barrel, after rising 2.3% in the previous session.

Brent crude futures fell 18 cents, or 0.1%, to $75.11 a barrel after rising 1.8% in the previous session.

Wednesday's sharp gains were partly triggered by an unexpectedly large drawdown in US crude inventories last week.

The United States approved Pfizer Inc's COVID-19 antiviral pill for people 12 and older, the first oral and home treatment for the fast-spreading Omicron variant.

Meanwhile, AstraZeneca, citing data from a laboratory study at Oxford University, said that a three-dose administration of the COVID-19 vaccine is effective against the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Then again, states forced a progression of limitations to forestall the spread of Omicron. The Chinese city of Xian requested its 13 million inhabitants to remain at home on Wednesday, Scotland forced get-together limitations for as long as three weeks from December 26, and two Australian states re-forced a veil necessity as the number of cases took off.

However, fears about the potential impact of mobility restrictions on fuel demand have dissipated as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Russia, and their allies, collectively known as OPEC+, have left open the possibility of reconsidering their plan to increase output by 400,000 barrels per day in January.

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