Oil prices plunged about $10 a barrel on Friday, their largest one-day drop since April 2020, as a new variant of the coronavirus spooked investors and added to concerns that a supply surplus could swell in the first quarter.
Oil fell with global equities markets on fears the variant could dampen economic growth and fuel demand.
Top U.S. infectious disease official Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Friday that a ban on flights from southern Africa was a possibility.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down $9.36, or 11.9%, at $69.03 a barrel, in high volume trading after Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday in the United States.
News of the variant has caused ructions in a market previously caught between producer and consumer nations.