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Oil Sinks 5 on Worries that New COVID19 Strain will Hit Demand

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Oil prices fell sharply on Monday, amid concerns a more infectious strain of COVID19 discovered in the U.K. could pose another hurdle for demand of the commodity.

West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery slid 2.84, or 5.7, to 46.27 a barrel. On Friday, the contract climbed 1.5 to settle at 49.10 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange the highest frontmonth contract finish since Feb. 25, according to Dow Jones Market Data. The January contract will expire at the end of Mondays session.

February Brent crude the global benchmark, slid 3, or 5.8, to 49.25 a barrel. Fridays session saw the contract gain 1.5 to 52.26 a barrel for the highest settlement since Feb. 26.

But concerns over more hits to demand for the commodity came roaring back on Monday, as traders reacted to a highly infectious strain of the virus, being blamed for surging infections in the U.K.

Those living in London and much of the southeast of England have been placed under tighter restrictions ahead of the holidays, shutting nonessential shops and banning nonessential travel. Several European countries and Canada closed their borders to U.K. travelers, including France, which blocked air, sea and land traffic from the country.

Patrick Vallance, the U.K. governments chief scientific adviser, said that the fastmoving strain had become the dominant variant, causing over 60 of London infections by December. Health experts have said there is no evidence so far that shows the strain is more…

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