Oil struggles to hold gains amid mixed demand view

Oil struggles to hold gains amid mixed demand view

Oil prices slipped on Thursday, trimming big gains from the previous two sessions, amid uncertainty over near-term demand as cases of the highly contagious Omicron variant of the coronavirus surge around the globe.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures slipped 20 cents, or 0.2%, to $82.44 a barrel at 0503 GMT, after climbing 1.7% in the previous session.

Brent crude futures shed 19 cents, or 0.2%, to $84.48 a barrel, after rising 1.3% on Wednesday.

Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Wednesday showed fuel demand has taken a hit from Omicron, with gasoline stockpiles increasing by 8 million barrels in the week to Jan. 7, compared with analyst expectations for 2.4 million-barrel rise.[EIA/S]

The market had earlier latched on to a bigger drawdown than expected in crude inventories and the fact that stockpiles are at their lowest since October 2018, pushing Brent and WTI to touch their highest in two months on Wednesday.

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