Crude Oil Prices Slip to Second-Straight Weekly Loss on Demand Concerns By

© Reuters.

By Yasin Ebrahim – Crude oil prices settled lower Friday for the second straight week on fears the rocky ride for demand will continue as the threat of new Covid-19 variants prolonging the pandemic remans.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange for March delivery fell 14 cents to settle at $52.20 a barrel, while on London’s Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE:), gained 35 cents to settle at $58.88 a barrel.

Mixed news on the vaccine raised the concerns about the new strains of Covid-19 delaying the economic reopening.

Novavax Inc (NASDAQ:)released data showing its Covid-19 vaccine was 89.3% effective, while Johnson & Johnson’s (NYSE:JNJ) one-dose vaccine was 66% effective worldwide.

Johnson & Johnson’s trials, however, included newly emerging coronavirus strains from South Africa and the U.K.

But analyst remained adamant that JNJ’s vaccine will play role in helping the economy return to normal.

Despite having a lower efficacy than established mRNA vaccines from Pfizer (NYSE:) and Moderna Inc (NASDAQ:), JNJ’s vaccine was shown to be 85% effective in preventing severe disease and hospitalizations/death, which, are “two primary drivers of the lockdowns/restrictions,” BofA said in a note.

Top U.S. infectious disease specialist Anthony Fauci said the Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine news was “very encouraging” in controlling Covid-19, though he added that the highly transmissible variants were a “wake up call” for the public.

The weak end to the day for oil prices, however, has done little to sway Wall Street conviction in the “bull thesis” for energy in the wake of the Saudi Arabia’s production cuts.

“Thanks to Saudi Arabia’s voluntary production cut (and high prices), there should be little need of talk at next week’s OPEC+ meeting,” Commerzbank (DE:) said. “The oil price should therefore remain stable.”

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