Oil prices climb amid positive sentiment

Oil prices rallied on Friday to post solid gains for the week as sentiment remained upbeat on the market.

The West Texas Intermediate for February delivery added 1.70 U.S. dollars, or 2.1 percent, to settle at 83.82 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for March delivery increased 1.59 dollars, or 1.9 percent, to close at 86.06 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.

“The price slide that was triggered by the emergence of the Omicron variant has been reversed completely,” Carsten Fritsch, energy analyst at Commerzbank Research, said Friday in a note.

“This is because Omicron’s impact on oil demand has been considerably milder so far than initially feared, as the IEA also confirmed this week,” he said.

Fatih Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), expressed optimism earlier this week, saying that the demand dynamics are stronger than many market observers had thought, mainly due to milder Omicron expectations.

For the week, the U.S. crude benchmark jumped 6.2 percent, while Brent advanced 5.3 percent, based on the front-month contracts, chalking up their fourth weekly increase in a row.