Oil slumps 5% on recession concerns, U.S. gasoline price drop By Reuters

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© Reuters. An aerial view shows an oil factory of Idemitsu Kosan Co. in Ichihara, east of Tokyo, Japan November 12, 2021, in this photo taken by Kyodo. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

By Scott DiSavino

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Oil prices tumbled about 5% to a three-week low on Friday, led by a slump in U.S. gasoline futures, as investors worried interest rate hikes from major central banks could slow the global economy and cut demand for energy.

Also pressuring prices, the U.S. dollar this week rose to its highest since December 2002 against a basket of currencies. A stronger dollar makes oil more expensive for buyers using other currencies.

futures fell $5.85, or 4.9%, to $113.96 a barrel by 11:02 a.m. EDT (1502 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell $6.66, or 5.7%, to $110.93. Both were on track for their lowest closes since May 25.

There will be no U.S. trading on Monday, June 20, for the Juneteenth holiday.

Brent was headed for its first weekly dip in five weeks, and WTI for its first weekly decline in eight weeks.

“With the central banks making pretty substantial moves to limit growth via interest rate hikes and monetary tightening is showing up here in the petroleum complex,” said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York, noting slower economic growth should cut energy demand.

U.S. gasoline futures slid about 6% with analysts worried high pump prices will reduce demand.

Automobile group AAA said the price of diesel at the pump hit a record high $5.798 per gallon on Friday, while the price of gasoline hit its record of $5.016 earlier in the week.

Global central bankers who quickly loosened monetary policy during the pandemic to avoid a depression, are now trying to fight inflation.

“The influence of the macro environment has started to take over from oil-specific fundamentals in recent days,” said Investec’s head of commodities Callum Macpherson.

The Federal Reserve this week hiked rates by the most in more than a quarter of a century and signaled it will stay focused on fighting inflation.

With the Fed expected to keep raising interest rates, open interest in WTI futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell on Thursday to its lowest since May 2016 as investors cut back on risky assets.

The global oil market continues to show signs of “turbulence”, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said, blaming uncertainties over oil production recovery in Libya, Iran and Venezuela and a lack of energy infrastructure.

The market’s turbulence has increased since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Russian gas flows to Europe fell short of demand on Friday as an early heatwave in the south boosted demand for air-conditioning.

The European Union’s executive recommended that Ukraine and Moldova become candidates for membership in the world’s largest trading bloc.



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