Crude oil futures closed lower on Friday (Jan. 7) as traders sold crude oil futures following disappointing U.S. non-farm payrolls data that fell short of expectations. In addition, WHO surprised with a statement about Omicron.
- WTI crude futures were down 56 cents, or 0.7%, at $78.90 a barrel.
- BRENT crude futures were down 24 cents, or 0.3%, at $81.75 a barrel.
The U.S. Department of Labor announced that non-farm payrolls rose by only 199,000 in December. The unemployment rate, on the other hand, fell to 3.9%.
Earlier, oil prices had risen due to unrest in Kazakhstan and declining oil production in Libya. Kazakhstan is an oil-rich country and a member of the OPEC+ group.
Oil production in Libya decreased by more than 500,000 barrels per day due to the closure of several oil wells. Including the closure of oil pipelines for maintenance.
Meanwhile, the WHO is backpedaling on the Omicron issue and now says it was a mistake to label this variant as “mild”. The correction came after WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “While Omicron does appear to be less severe compared to Delta, especially in those vaccinated, it does not mean it should be categorized as mild.”
Moreover, he added, “Just like previous variants, Omicron is hospitalizing people and it is killing people.”
This sounds far more concerned than in previous statements about Omicron. It remains to be seen whether this variant will have an impact on oil demand.
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Saturday, January 8, 2022