Crude Oil Futures Settle Higher

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Crude oil prices climbed higher on Monday amid hopes the rollout of Covid-19 vaccine will help revive the economy and result in increased energy demand.

However, lowering of energy demand forecast for 2020 and 2021 by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) weighed on oil prices and limited their upside.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for January ended higher by $0.42 or about 0.9% at $46.99 a barrel, a nine-month closing high.

Brent crude futures were up $0.28 or 0.56% at $50.25 a barrel a little while ago.

A meeting of OPEC’s Joint Technical Committee and Ministerial Monitoring Committee, originally scheduled to take place on Wednesday (December 16), has now been postponed until January 3 and 4, OPEC said in a statement today.

The OPEC has also lowered its forecast for energy demand, saying global oil demand will rebound more slowly in 2021 than previously thought as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic is likely to hamper efforts by the group and its allies to support the market.

On the vaccine front, the United States has begun giving Covid-19 vaccine shots and vaccinations were rolling out across the country starting Monday, with hospitals prioritizing front-line healthcare workers.

This follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention giving its nod for Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine.

CDC Director Robert Redfield accepted the recommendation by CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for vaccination with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in people 16 years of age and older.

The recommendation follows the Emergency Use Authorization issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the vaccine last Friday.

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