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Surge In Omicron Cases Spooks Oil Traders


U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures are edging lower on Friday, putting the market in a position to post a slightly lower close for the week. Although the market put in a mixed performance throughout the week, a bearish consensus seems to be developing as surging cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant raised fears that new curbs may lead to demand destruction.

This week’s inside trade on the chart suggests investor indecision and impending volatility. The indecision is being fueled by mixed outlooks for supply/demand and the lack of clarity from health officials on whether vaccines are effective against Omicron. The source of volatility could be greater curbs and restrictions designed to soften the impact of the virus, and thin trading conditions tied to the year-end holiday season.

Omicron Update

Since Omicron was discovered about three weeks ago, global health officials have offered various opinions about the vaccines’ effectiveness against it. They have, however, reached an agreement that they still don’t know enough about it to give a good opinion on its impact. Meanwhile, governments have reached their own conclusions about how to fight the spread. They have chosen to reimpose restrictions.

As of Friday, Reuters is reporting that in Denmark, South Africa, and Britain, the number of new Omicron cases has been doubling every two days. Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said her government would propose new restrictions. This…

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