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The past 20 months have seen crude oil futures act, at times, like the proxy trade for COVID-19. This dynamic was made evident the day omicron hit the headlines. Oil prices have rallied notably off that recent low, but remain more than $20 below “fair value,” based on our estimate of global petroleum inventories. Much of what has been witnessed in the oil market since the newest variant appeared amounts to a collapse in the “financial demand” for oil. Actual oil demand in November hit its highest level since February 2020, and the very preliminary assessment we have published to clients suggest December’s rate is running above that figure.