Oil prices sink 5 percent on Omicron demand fears
Global oil prices fell by more than 5 percent on Dec. 20, as energy demand fears grew over the fast-spreading Omicron coronavirus variant.
In morning deals, Brent North Sea crude tumbled 5.1 percent to $69.79 per barrel and New York’s West Texas Intermediate oil lost 5.7 percent to $66.84.
The rapid spread of Omicron has slammed the oil market and global stock markets on concerns about economic fallout as countries revert back to containment measures.
“For crude oil, it is all about demand concerns right now,” ThinkMarkets analyst Fawad Razaqzada told AFP.
“Travel restrictions have been tightened across most of Europe and there is the potential for more measures to be announced in the coming days.
“Traders are thus left with little choice but to sell oil, as well as energy and travel stocks, with very little appetite for risk-taking.”
Sentiment was jarred by the future of U.S. President Joe Biden’s massive social spending bill.
The British pound fell sharply after the surprise weekend departure of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit minister David Frost.
“After battling endless headwinds in recent weeks, markets have finally been knocked over as the rapid spread of Omicron finally reaches panic mode,” said AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould.