Oil prices edged higher on Tuesday over expectations for a brighter demand outlook in 2022 with easing concerns about omicron variant of COVID-19.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $78.46 per barrel at 0633 GMT for a 0.30% increase after closing the previous session at $78.22 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $75.90 per barrel at the same time for a 0.43% gain after trade ended at $75.57 a barrel in the previous session.
Investor concerns about flight cancellations in the US eased as COVID-19 patients are showing only mild symptoms.
As omicron cases spread across the country, US airlines canceled 800 more flights on Monday, which was followed by almost 3,000 cancellations over the Christmas holiday weekend, which is traditionally a busy travel period for Americans.
Prices also saw support after Sajid Javid, the British health minister, announced on Monday that the country will not face any additional Covid-19 restrictions before the end of 2021.
“There will be no further measures before the new year,” Javid said. “When we get into the new year, of course we will see then whether we do need to take any further measures.”
Investors are also monitoring the upcoming meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, known as OPEC+, on Jan. 4. The group will decide whether to increase output by 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) in February.
The OPEC+ producers in their previous meeting agreed to stick to the scheduled output scheme ignoring requests from some countries including the US to raise the production.
By Sibel Morrow