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WTI and Brent trade ~$0.30 below their respective settlement levels at typing, with the previously flagged caution from the Moderna CEO re: the prospects of current vaccines being successful in the fight against the Omicron COVID variant triggering broader risk-off flows.

  • This comes after a relatively sharp pullback from best levels on Monday, with initial gains coming on the back of less worry re: the mortality threat posed by the Omicron COVID variant, before optimistic tones from some of the parties at the latest round of Iran-related talks (which do not include the U.S.) mixed with questions re: short-term demand implications surrounding Omicron weighed on the space.
  • We also saw the White House stress that it is not reconsidering the plan to release inventory from its SPR, even though oil prices have shifted lower since the announcement. An administration official went as far as telling CNBC that the Biden admin stands ready to release even more barrels of oil from its strategic reserves should the need arise again, when questioned on the matter.
  • Continued focus falls on this week’s OPEC+ gathering (particularly in light of the recent co-ordinated release of crude stockpiles on the part of some of the major oil consuming nations), while the latest API inventory estimates will also provide interest later on Tuesday.