Oil rises amid slow vaccine rollouts, new COVID-19 variants
Oil prices rose on Monday following a weak start, clinging onto three months of gains, despite slow COVID-19 vaccine rollouts, rising infections, and new variants capping prices.
Brent crude futures rose 10 cents to $55.14 per barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate climbed 1 cent to $52.21 per barrel. Both contracts rose 8% in January.
Oil prices were supported by vaccination programmes and output cuts pledged by Saudi Arabia. However, hopes for an end to the pandemic were undermined by new COVID-19 variants and slow vaccine rollouts.
Still, fuel demand is expected to improve as more get vaccinated against COVID-19. Prices are forecasted to stay at current levels before improving towards year-end.
U.S. oil and gas rigs are preparing for a pickup in demand, adding rigs for a sixth consecutive row in January.
U.S. oil output was above 11 million bpd in November for the first time since April, the Energy Information Administration said.