Oil clawed back some losses after plunging more than 6pc over the previous two sessions on nervousness over whether the rapid spread of the omicron variant will lead to more lockdowns and restrictions on movement.
Against this backdrop, the OPEC+ alliance will decide on their supply policy for January later today. With oil prices already in a bear market as omicron imperils demand, traders widely expect the producer group to defer a modest increase in output.
5 things to start your day
1) Teesside Covid jab factory gets £400m boost The Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies plant in Billingham will see its workforce rise from 890 to 1,200 staff
2) Sadiq Khan fears defeat in crisis talks to stop the Tube going bankrupt London Mayor has until December 11 to reach a new funding deal
3) Anglo American plans to dismiss unvaccinated workers The demands will apply to all of its 95,000 employees worldwide and take effect early next year
4) Nissan turns to Sunderland sunshine to power electric car factory The group plans to build a solar farm to double the amount of green power it produces onsite
5) GB News and Donald Trump join forces on the comeback trail News channel senses a turnaround with big interview but viewing figures show there is still a long way to go
What happened overnight
Asian shares edged higher in choppy trading on Thursday, helped by advances in Chinese real estate shares, though fears about the omicron Covid variant capped gains regionally.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan advanced 0.2pc, boosted by Chinese blue chips up 0.25pc and Hong Kong up 0.2pc.
Japan's Nikkei lost 0.6pc, and all three main Wall Street benchmarks fell more than one per cent overnight as a global rally petered out as news about omicron turned negative.