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Oil climbs on weaker dollar, China, amid Omicron caution

Oil climbs on weaker dollar, China, amid Omicron caution
December 22, 2021 Reuters

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Oil prices rose again on Wednesday as the dollar slipped, with risk appetite returning as some governments resist imposing lockdowns to curb the spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant and as China said it would be able to sustain economic growth.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 50 cents, or 0.7%, to $71.62 a barrel at 02:35 GMT after jumping 3.7% on Tuesday.

Brent crude futures rose 44 cents, or 0.6%, to $74.42 a barrel after gaining 3.4% on Tuesday.

Oil prices typically move inversely to the US dollar, with a weaker greenback making commodities cheaper for those holding other currencies.

Meanwhile a senior Chinese state planning official said on Wednesday Beijing would work to aid economic growth, including stepping up government spending, strengthening support to manufacturers and stabilising industry supply chains.

The country, the world's biggest oil importer, would "strive to stabilise economic operations in the first quarter, the first half and even the whole year," the official told Xinhua News Agency.

Meanwhile, some governments are trying to hold off imposing new pandemic curbs to slow the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant, including in Britain and Australia, which should help support fuel demand.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would not introduce new COVID-19 restrictions before Christmas, but said the government may need to take steps afterwards.

In Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday ruled out lockdowns and instead urged people to get booster shots to protect themselves even as the country hit a pandemic high of more than 5,000 new infections.