Oil prices fell sharply on Friday as the new lockdown in Austria rekindled concerns about demand.
The Austrian government announced today that the country will enter a 10-day lockdown which could be extended up to 20 days, in order to reduce the number of new cases of COVID-19 galloping in recent days. Earlier this week, Austria became the first European country to impose restrictions on the movement of the unvaccinated population. The vaccination rate in Austria is one of the lowest in Europe, at around 65%.
Austria and Germany set a record in cases this week, with the German health minister talking today about a state of emergency, without ruling out the possibility of imposing local lockdowns to reduce infections.
The return of lockdowns in Europe threatens to derail the fragile economic recovery that followed the 2020 crisis, severely affecting demand.
Against this background, the December delivery WTI loses 3% or $ 2.38 to $ 76.63 a barrel. This contract expires today with the completion of the transactions.
January Brent also fell 3% to $ 2.47 at $ 78.77 a barrel.
The December delivery contract, meanwhile, gained $ 1.1% to $ 5,048 per million thermal units.