Oil prices extended gains on Thursday, thanks to confidence that the Omicron strain of the coronavirus will not derail global growth even as some governments ramp up restrictions to stem its rapid spread.
US West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 28 cents, or 0.4%, to $72.64 a barrel, extending its 0.4% gain in the previous session.
Brent crude futures rose 22 cents, or 0.3%, to $76.04 a barrel, after a 0.5% gain on Wednesday.
Markets boosted thanks to Statements from Biontech and Pfizer They report that receiving three doses of their COVID-19 vaccine may provide protection against infection with the Omicron strain.
“Initial indications for the Omicron strain… suggest it may be less severe than initially feared, as hospitalization rates have not increased,” Vivek Dhar, a commodities analyst at the Commonwealth Bank, said in a note.
“Receiving a third dose also shows promising indications of protection against the new strain,” he added.
But market gains fell due to the re-imposition of restrictions by governments to curb the spread of Omicron, such as Britain, which ordered residents to work from home, Denmark, which closed restaurants, bars and schools, and China, which stopped group tours from Guangdong province.
“The risk to demand has not been entirely absent,” ANZ analysts said in a note.
The Omicron strain led to a 16% drop in Brent prices from 25 November to 1 December. More than half of that decline has been offset this week, but analysts say further recovery may be limited until the strain’s impact becomes clear.