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Oil Futures Tank As Emergence Of New Virus Variant Raises Demand Concerns

Crude oil prices plummeted on Friday, sending the most active crude futures contract to their biggest single-session tumble this year, as reports about the emergence of a new vaccine-resistant coronavirus variant raised concerns about the outlook for global energy demand.

Several countries in Europe are already reporting a surge in coronavirus cases, and have imposed stricter restrictions on movements in order to curb the spread of the pandemic.

Now, following the detection of the new variant, the U.K. issued a temporary flight ban on six African countries.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for December ended down by $10.24 or about 13% at $68.15 a barrel, the biggest single-session loss since April 2020. There was no settlement for WTI contracts on Thursday because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Brent crude futures dropped by $8.77 or 10.7% to $73.45 a barrel.

Earlier this week, the U.S. government announced plans to release 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, as part of a global effort to calm rising fuel prices. Several other countries, including India, China and the U.K. too will be be releasing some of their reserves.

Meanwhile, the OPEC and its allies are scheduled to meet on December 2 to discuss production policy for 2022. The group has been ignoring calls from the White House and others to hike output.

The material has been provided by InstaForex Company – www.instaforex.com