The start of coronavirus vaccination campaigns and prospects of a return to travel and other activities in 2021 offered a glimmer of hope to the market as the year-end drew near. After months of gridlock, the United States Senate finally passed an economic relief package, which was also welcome news and was quickly reflected in climbing crude oil numbers.
Participants expected market conditions to remain challenging for at least the first half of the year. Supply was anticipated to be tight as refineries continued to run at reduced rates and were likely to do so until demand for refined products such as gasoline and jet fuel improves.
A return to pre-COVID 19 business travel, manufacturing and other undertakings would lead to an increase in fuels and lubricants consumption, sources said. However, the emergence of a mutant strain of the virus in the United Kingdom threw a shadow on some of these prospects.
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