On Friday, oil prices fell, putting the market on track for a slight weekly loss. Rising cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant raised concerns that new restrictions would reduce fuel demand. At the same time, a weaker dollar supported commodity markets more broadly.
Brent crude futures dropped 59 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $74.43 per barrel. WTI crude futures fell 67 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $71.71 per barrel. In the United States, the rapid spread of the Omicron variant has caused some businesses to postpone plans to reintroduce workers into the workplace.
Benchmark Brent and WTI gained around 2%, boosted by record US implied demand and a weaker US dollar following the Bank of England’s surprise rate hike.
The yellow metal was up in Asia on Friday morning after key central banks tightened their monetary policies this week at their respective meetings.
Gold futures were up 0.32 percent to $1,803.95 and on track for their best week since mid-November 2021. The dollar typically moves in the opposite direction of gold. It fell on Friday after the Fed announced the withdrawal of its COVID-19 economic stimulus package.
Key central banks are tightening monetary policy. They want to combat high inflation while also monitoring the impact of the omicron COVID-19 variant.
In the Asia Pacific, the Bank of Japan announced its policy decision earlier in the day, maintaining its interest rate at –0.10 percent. It maintained its dovish tone while potentially reducing emergency COVID-19 funding.
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