Oil prices suffered one of the largest ever one-day plunges, crashing more than 11% on Friday as new Covid-19 variant Omicron sparked fears that renewed lockdowns will hurt global demand.
Persecondnews.com Reports that price drop capped a dramatic week for the oil market, which started when U.S. President Joe Biden challenged OPEC by tapping the country’s strategic petroleum reserve in an effort to bring gasoline prices down. China, India, Japan and South Korea all joined the American effort.
At one point, the Dow fell more than 1,000 points before recovering slightly to close down 905 points, or about 2.5%, for the session. Oil prices dropped more than 10%, their steepest one-day decline since early in the pandemic.
The crash, the 7th largest ever for Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, may prompt the OPEC to re-consider its policy when it meets next week, with the group increasingly leaning toward pausing its output hikes.
Persecondnews.com also gathered that Copper prices slumped amid fears that the new variant of the coronavirus could hit economic growth and undercut demand for raw materials.The metal, which is used in everything from construction to consumer electronics, is considered a barometer of global growth.
The variant, currently denominated B.1.1.529, reportedly could have far more mutations than those displayed by the delta variant, which became the dominant variant in most of the world over the summer.
It’s not clear yet whether the mutations make this variant more infectious or whether it causes more severe illness, but researchers say the high number of mutations to the spike proteins- the focus of a body’s immune response — may make it more able to get past the body’s defenses.
The World Health Organization called an emergency meeting on Friday, where it named the new variant Omicron, after the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet, and designated it a “Variant of Concern.”
In response to the variant’s discovery in southern Africa, the United States, Canada, Israel, Russia and a host of other countries joined the European Union in restricting travel for visitors from that region, where the variant brought on a fresh surge of infections.