Crude oil prices hit six-month low

Prices drop on U.S. reserves data as OPEC hikes production

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Ziare
FILE - A pumpjack extracts crude at an oil field in Emlichheim, Germany, March 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)

Oil prices fell to their lowest level in six months on Thursday after U.S. data showed crude and gasoline inventories rose unexpectedly last week, while OPEC+ said it would raise its output target of oil by 100,000 barrels per day (bpd), Reuters reported.

Brent crude futures fell $3.76, or 3.7 percent, to $96.78 a barrel, the lowest level since Feb. 21, just before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell $3.76, or 4 percent, to $90.66, the lowest since Feb. 10. The contract hit a session low of $90.38 a barrel, the lowest since Feb. 25. Both contracts fluctuated during the meeting.

U.S. gasoline inventories, a gauge of demand, also showed a surprise increase as demand slowed, the Energy Information Administration said.

The demand outlook remained overshadowed by growing concerns of an economic slowdown in the United States and Europe, the debt crisis in emerging market economies, and a strict zero-Covid-19 policy in China, the world’s biggest oil importer.

“A dip below $90 is now a very real possibility, which is quite remarkable given how tight the market remains and how little scope there is to mitigate this,” said Craig Erlam, a senior market analyst for Oanda from London.

But talk of a recession is growing stronger and, if it were to become a reality, would likely address some of the imbalance, the analyst added.

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