Oil heading for biggest annual gains since 2009

By Sonali Paul and Florence Tan

MELBOURNE, December 31 (Reuters)Oil prices fell on Friday, but were expected to post their biggest annual gains in 12 years, boosted by the global economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and producer restriction, even as infections hit record levels in the world.

Brent futures LCOc1 fell 31 cents, or 0.4%, to $ 79.22 a barrel at 4:27 a.m. GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 fell 37 cents, or 0.5%, to $ 76.62 a barrel.

Brent is on track to end the year up 53%, while WTI heads for a 57% gain, the best performance for the two benchmark contracts since 2009, when prices climbed more than 70%. %. Both contracts peaked in 2021 in October with Brent at $ 86.70 per barrel, the highest since 2018, and WTI at $ 85.41 per barrel, the highest since 2014.

World oil prices LCOc1, CLc1 are expected to increase further next year as demand for jet fuel catches up.

“We’ve had Delta and Omicron and all kinds of lockdowns and travel restrictions, but demand for oil has remained relatively strong. You can attribute that to the effects of stimulus supporting demand and restrictions on supply,” said the chief economist of Australian brokerage firm CommSec. Craig James.

However, after rising for several consecutive days, oil prices stalled on Friday as COVID-19 cases reached new pandemic highs across the world from Australia to the United States, fueled by the highly variant. transmissible virus from the Omicron coronavirus.

U.S. health experts have warned Americans to prepare for serious disruption in the coming weeks as infection rates likely to worsen due to increased vacation travel, New Years celebrations and the reopening of schools after the winter holidays.

With oil hovering around $ 80, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and their allies, collectively referred to as OPEC +, will likely stick to their plan to add 400,000 barrels per day of supply in February. when they met on Jan. 4, four sources said. as they continue to slow down the sharp production cuts implemented in 2020.

“I think we’ll see a lot of pressure on OPEC + to make sure there is enough oil in the market,” James said.

Oil prices are heading for biggest annual gains since 2009https: //tmsnrt.rs/3sRlnZD

(Reporting by Sonali Paul and Florence Tan; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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