Oil futures ended lower on Wednesday, giving up earlier gains following news that the U.S. has identified its first case of the omicron variant of coronavirus. The turn lower for prices late in the session was linked to growing concerns over COVID-19, and the potential for the new variant to disrupt economic activity and oil demand, said Tariq Zahir, managing member at Tyche Capital Advisors. Traders await Thursday’s decision by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies on production levels. Some analysts said the group, known as OPEC+, may decide to pause their current deal to boost monthly output by 400,000 barrels per day, given the recent plunge in oil prices following the discovery of the new variant of coronavirus. January West Texas Intermediate crude CLF22, -1.33% fell 61 cents, or 0.9%, to settle at $65.57 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after touching an intraday high of $69.49. Prices lost 5.4% on Tuesday.
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