NEW YORK, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- U.S. oil prices plunged more than 13 percent on Friday due to concerns over the discovery of a new variant of COVID-19 in South Africa.
The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for January delivery sank 10.24 U.S. dollars to settle at 68.15 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Meanwhile, Brent crude for January delivery lost 9.53 dollars, or 11.59 percent, to settle at 72.72 dollars.
The two benchmark crude oil futures marked the deepest single-day drop since April 2020.
The United Kingdom announced it would ban flights from six African countries starting midday Friday.
U.S. President Joe Biden announced Friday that the United States would impose travel restrictions on eight African countries due to the new variant.
Canada also announced on Friday banning the entry of foreigners who have traveled through southern Africa in the last 14 days.
The light trading during Thanksgiving holiday in the United States was also blamed for the heightened market volatility.
"Once again, Thanksgiving oil markets lived up to their notorious holiday reputation plunging on light holiday volume in response to reports of a new COVID variant found in South Africa," said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst with The PRICE Futures Group on Friday. Enditem