Oil prices rose on Thursday, recouping the previous day's losses, as investors adjusted positions ahead of an OPEC+ decision over supply policy, but gains were capped amid fears the Omicron coronavirus variant will hurt fuel demand.
Brent crude futures rose 85 cents, or 1.2%, to $69.72 by 0402 GMT, having eased 0.5% in the previous session.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures gained 85 cents, or 1.3%, to $66.42 a barrel, after a 0.9% drop on Wednesday.
"Investors unwound their positions ahead of the OPEC+ decision as oil prices have declined so fast and so much over the past week," said Tsuyoshi Ueno, senior economist at NLI Research Institute.
Global oil prices have lost more than $10 a barrel since last Thursday, when news of Omicron shook investors.
"Market will be watching closely the producer group's decision as well as comments from some of key members after the meeting to suggest their future policy," Ueno said.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, together known as OPEC+, will likely decide on Thursday whether to release more oil into the market as previously planned or restrain supply.
Since August, the group has been adding an additional 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) of output to global supply each month, as it gradually winds down record cuts agreed in 2020.
The new variant, though, has complicated the decision-making process, with some observers speculating OPEC+ could pause those additions in January in an attempt to slow supply growth.
"Oil prices climbed as some investors anticipate that OPEC+ will decide to maintain the current supply levels in January to cushion any damage on demand from the Omicron spread," said Toshitaka Tazawa, an analyst at Fujitomi Securities Co Ltd.