(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. government lowered its forecast for crude oil prices through 2022 as global demand takes a short-term hit amid travel restrictions following an outbreak of the omicron variant of the coronavirus. 

The Energy Information Administration cut its projections for both global benchmark Brent and its U.S. crude futures by nearly $2 a barrel from the previous estimate, according to the Short-Term Energy Outlook report. The agency also lowered its estimate for consumption of petroleum and liquid fuels in the fourth quarter and first quarter while raising its estimates of oil output from OPEC+ and the U.S. 

The report comes as the Biden Administration continues to focus on lowering gasoline prices and just after decision from OPEC to proceed with a scheduled oil-production hike. The producer group left the door open to changing the plan on short notice due to the uncertainty surrounding the impact of the omicron variant of Covid-19 on oil demand.  




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