Crude Oil prices fell more than 5 percent on Friday, hitting a two-month low, as investors were alarmed by a new COVID-19 variant, adding to concerns that a production glut will worsen in the first quarter. Fears that the variation, which Britain claimed experts deemed the most significant detected to date, may restrict travel and weaken economic development and fuel demand caused oil to fall alongside global equity markets.
During the day, Brent crude had dropped USD4.68, or 5.6 percent, to USD77.54 per barrel. After Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down USD5.20, or 6.6 percent, to USD73.19 a barrel.
Investors were also watching China's reaction to the United States' decision to release millions of barrels of oil from strategic reserves in concert with other large consumers in an effort to lower prices. Based on the results of an OPEC panel of experts that advises ministers, such a release is likely to boost supplies in the coming months, according to an OPEC source.
If consumer nations go forward with the releases, the Economic Commission Board forecasts a surplus of 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) in December, rising to 2.3 million bpd in January and 3.7 million bpd in February, according to an OPEC source.