Oil prices are rising and hovering at $75 a barrel

Oil prices are heading for the biggest weekly gain since late August, with improved investor confidence backed by easing concerns about the impact of the Omicron mutant strain of the Corona virus on global economic growth and fuel demand.

The two benchmarks, Brent and West Texas Intermediate, are heading towards recording a rise of more than seven percent this week, even with profit taking for a short period, in their first weekly increase in seven weeks.

Brent crude futures rose 66 cents, or 0.9%, to $75.08 a barrel during trading, after falling 1.9% Thursday.

US crude futures rose 74 cents, or 1 percent, to $71.68, after falling 2 percent in a volatile session the previous day.

Earlier in the week, the oil market regained about half of the losses incurred since the Omicron outbreak on November 25, with prices higher due to early studies indicating that three doses of the virus vaccine against Covid-19 provide protection against the Omicron strain. Credit rating agency Fitch downgraded two Chinese real estate developers, Evergrande and Caisa, saying they had defaulted on overseas bonds.

This has fueled fears of a possible slowdown in China’s real estate sector, as well as in the broader economy of the world’s largest oil importer. (Reuters)

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