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Omicron Potentially a Stabilizing Force for OPEC+

With the weight of oil markets, member states’ fiscal balance sheets and geopolitical interests often pulling it in different directions, OPEC+ can be one unwieldy ship for Saudi Arabia to maneuver. Ironically, the Omicron variant of Covid-19 could prove to be a stabilizing force.

The Saudi-led oil cartel and its Russia-led allies—the “plus”—are scheduled to meet Thursday to decide whether to stick with their plan to increase monthly oil output by 400,000 barrels a day in January. After news of the Omicron variant broke Friday, sending Brent crude prices plunging by more than $9 a barrel, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries postponed its technical meetings to evaluate its impact before Thursday’s meeting. After another wave of fear about the virus hit markets Tuesday, Brent was down by almost $11 a barrel, or 13%, since Thanksgiving.

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