International oil prices plunge again on concerns about Omicron… WTI 5.4%↓

The biggest monthly decline since March last year… Powell’s tapering remarks also lead to gold prices ↓

(New York = Yonhap News) Correspondent Kang Geon-taek = International oil prices plunged again on the 30th (local time) due to concerns over Omicron, a new variant of the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19).

On the same day, on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in January next year finished trading at $66.18 per barrel, down 5.4% ($3.77) from the previous trading day.

According to Dow Jones Market Data, WTI plunged nearly 21% in the month of November, marking the largest monthly decline since March last year, when the COVID-19 pandemic officially began.

January Brent crude oil on the London ICE Futures Exchange is also trading at $70.57 per barrel, down 3.9% ($2.87) as of 7:45 p.m. (London local time).

WTI, which plunged more than 10% on the 26th, right after the Omicron mutation was announced, rebounded by 2.6% the day before, but fell sharply again when there was a possibility that the new mutation could weaken the vaccine’s preventive effect.

In an interview with the Financial Times (FT) on the same day, Stephen Bansel, CEO of American pharmaceutical company Moderna, said that the vaccine might be less effective than the delta mutation.

If the vaccine does not work well compared to the existing mutation, countries around the world may expand travel restrictions or re-introduce some lockdown measures to prevent the spread of the virus. In this case, the demand for crude oil may decrease.

The international gold price fell as the US central bank, the Federal Reserve (Fed), was hinting at an accelerated tapering of asset purchases.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold for February delivery fell 0.5% ($8.70) to close at $1,776.50 an ounce.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said before the Senate that the Fed will discuss a plan to advance the tapering schedule by several months at its December Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) regular meeting.

Oil rig model and dollar bills

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