Oil Prices Drop as Crude Reserves Mull Release

Crude oil price continued its slide to a seven-week low on Monday as oil-producing countries begin to weigh a release of reserves, following pressures from the U.S. and a worsening COVID-19 situation in Europe.

Brent crude dropped to as low as $78.32 per barrel on Monday, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude lost about 6 percent last week at $75.55 a barrel.

Oil has been falling from record highs since late October over speculations that crude reserves from the U.S. and other oil-producing countries will begin releasing extra supply soon — a move that is expected to pull down energy prices from high inflation.

The drop in oil prices was also prompted by Austria returning to a full lockdown on Monday while Germany threatens to follow suit.

New waves of COVID-19 infections in Europe have been prompting expectations that the OPEC producer group will reconsider its output plan during its upcoming meeting on Dec. 2.

U.S. President Joe Biden had been appealing that OPEC pump more oil to meet overwhelming demand, but the bloc had initially decided to stick with its original plan of only gradually increasing output. The White House reiterated its request to OPEC on Friday during a press briefing.

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida confirmed Saturday that the country is considering the White House’s request, but Japanese laws may obstruct a potential move as they only allow releasing reserves for emergency situations other than lowering prices.

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