Crude oil prices fell, on Friday, for a second day, giving up some of its strong gains during the week, due to profit-taking.
By 7:13 (GMT) Friday, Brent crude contracts, the standard for February delivery, fell 36 cents, or 0.48 percent, to $74.06 a barrel.
And US West Texas Intermediate crude contracts, for January delivery, fell 28 cents, or 0.39 percent, to $70.66 a barrel.
The two benchmark crudes incurred sharp losses, Thursday, and closed down by about 2%, after the global rating agency “Fitch” downgraded the Chinese real estate groups, “Evergrand” and “Caisa”, after they defaulted on debt payments.
This reinforced fears of a slowdown in the real estate sector in China, which is one of the main drivers of growth in the second largest economy and the second largest consumer of oil in the world.
Oil prices faced additional pressure from the dollar’s rise as investors’ appetite for risk declined, pending inflation data in the United States due to be released later Friday.
The rise of the dollar raises the cost of oil to holders of other currencies.
The dollar index, which measures the performance of the US currency against a basket of six major competing currencies, increased by 0.02 percent to 96.3 points, after an increase of about 0.4 percent on Thursday.
Nevertheless, crude oil prices are heading to record strong weekly gains of about 6 percent, for the first time in seven weeks, with increasing confidence that the new Corona “Omicron” mutator does not pose a threat to the global economic recovery process.
Several studies and reports showed that the symptoms of infection with the new mutant are less severe and dangerous than the previous ones, and that the available vaccines are able to confront it.
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