The story appears on

Page A10

April 22, 2020

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Business » Energy

US crude prices sink on supply-demand turmoil

The soon-to-expire May contract for the US oil benchmark went into a free fall to finish deeply in negative territory on Monday, as the energy market continued to reel from the dual demand-supply shock amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The West Texas Intermediate for May delivery shed US$55.9, or nearly 306 percent, to settle at US$-37.63 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The negative finish means producers would be paying buyers to take oil off their hands.

It marks the first time an oil futures contract has traded negative in history, according to Dow Jones Market Data. The May contract was to expire yesterday.

The June WTI contract fell more than 18 percent to US$20.43 per barrel. The global benchmark Brent Crude for June delivery decreased US$2.51 to close at US$25.57 a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.

Exchange-traded funds with oil-related assets also dipped noticeably on Monday due to the crude price crash. Meanwhile, Wall Street’s major averages tumbled with the Dow closing down nearly 600 points. The S&P 500 energy sector slid 3.29 percent, among the worst-performing groups.

Traders tried to unload positions ahead of the contract’s expiration, contributing to the historic drop, experts noted. On Monday, traders with long positions scrambled to get out amid fear that it would be difficult to find a place to park oil amid a rising glut of crude.

“We attribute the WTI price weakness to the imminent expiry of the May contract tomorrow,” Giovanni Staunovo, a commodity analyst at UBS Global Wealth Management, told Xinhua on Monday.

Weaker demand tied to the COVID-19 pandemic and a potential supply glut is a more severe problem.

“The decline in more liquid futures contracts reflects the broader problem we have in the oil market — severe oversupply in Q2,” said Staunovo, adding that with oil inventories trending higher over the coming weeks, the June contracts are likely to stay under pressure.

For the energy world, the knock-on economic effect from the pandemic was an immediate deep impact on global demand, sending fuel prices plummeting, said researchers at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy.

Major oil producers have announced cutbacks in production in hopes of stabilizing the energy market, but many analysts say it is not enough to offset the pandemic shock.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies led by Russia, a group known as OPEC+, agreed to reduce output by 9.7 million barrels per day for May and June after four days of talks.

Global oil demand is expected to fall by a record 9.3 million bpd year-on-year in 2020, the International Energy Agency warned in its newly-released monthly report.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend