The Saudi Capital Market Authority approves the IPO of 30% of Elm Co, owned by PIF.

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NEW YORK: Oil prices rose on Wednesday amid fears of tight supply and lower U.S. inventories, despite concerns about the likely blow to economic activity from the spread of the omicron coronavirus variant.

U.S. inventories fell more than expected, with crude inventories down 4.7 million barrels, although this was in part due to year-end tax considerations that encourage companies not to stockpile barrels of crude.

Brent crude futures rose 79 cents, or 1.1%, to $ 74.76 a barrel after gaining 3.4% in the last session.

US West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 99 cents to $ 72.11 a barrel, up 1.4%, as of 12:23 p.m. EST (5:23 p.m. GMT).

“We’ve seen a drop in production, we’ve seen inventory and crude drop, giving the market a good outlook,” said Phil Flynn, senior analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. “Because the supplies are below average across the board, there isn’t a lot of room for error. “

Gasoline storage has risen sharply in the most recent week, fueling fears that American travelers will abruptly change their plans, which could hurt demand for the world’s largest gasoline consumer.

“COVID-19 kills demand for gasoline in just a week – people driving just aren’t happening,” said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho Securities.

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