WTI Crude
50.43
Brent Crude
56.58
Natural Gas
2.96

Oil drops to 10-month low; biggest first-half slide in 20 years

Written by Julia Simon

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Oil prices ended down more than 2 percent on Wednesday after hitting a 10-month low in volatile trade, as growing U.S. production and reduced Chinese refinery activity fed mounting concern over the stubborn global crude glut.

U.S. crude futures CLc1 settled at $42.53, down 98 cents or 2.3 percent, after touching a low of $42.13, the lowest intraday level since August 2016. Since peaking in late February, crude has dropped more than 20 percent, with only brief rallies.

More than 1 million front-month crude contracts changed hands on Wednesday, far exceeding the daily average of 560,000 contracts.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 settled down $1.20 or 2.61 percent at $44.82 a barrel.

“The market wants proof that OPEC cuts are shifting petroleum balances, and it’s not getting it. Crude prices are now on the hunt to find the stress point for the U.S. producers and we’re not there yet,” said Anthony Headrick, energy market analyst at CHS Hedging LLC in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota.

Oil prices rose in late 2016 and early 2017 in response to the OPEC agreement, but weeks of surprisingly high inventory figures shifted sentiment among speculators who are shedding long positions as the crude glut persists.

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Written by Julia Simon

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