Oil prices slumped by US$2 on Monday (20 December) as surging cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant in Europe and the United States stoked investor worries that new mobility restrictions to combat its spread could hit fuel demand.
“Simply put, it is not a case of if but when governments impose tougher restrictions,” Stephen Brennock of broker PVM said in a report.
The Netherlands went into lockdown on Sunday and the possibility of more COVID-19 restrictions being imposed ahead of the Christmas and New Year holidays loomed over several European countries.
U.S. health officials urged Americans on Sunday to get booster shots, wear masks and be careful if they travel over the winter holidays, wuith the Omicron variant raging across the world and set to take over as the dominant strain in the United States.
Meanwhile, U.S. energy companies this week added oil and natural gas rigs for a second week in a row.