Oil slumps 6 percent as equities slide feeds demand worry


Tuesday's crude trading seemed to dispel widespread notions of the previous session's modest price gains being the start of a recovery, with US crude diving to its lowest level in over a year due to mounting concerns over a global slowdown in economic growth. The global benchmark fell as much as 5.1 percent to $63.36, the lowest since early March.

Oil prices continued its descent with WTI and Brent crude losing as much as 6% in yesterday's session.

International Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 were at $63.39 per barrel at 0747 GMT, up $86 per barrel, or 1.4 percent, from their last close.

Oil's slide has been largely unimpeded since early October when WTI prices were near four-year peaks.

"When the stock market comes off 8 or 9 percent, it tends to conjure up images of a weak global economy and that feeds into expectations of weaker-than-expected oil demand".

"We are now trading the January 2019 WTI Crude Contract on the Globex-Nymex exchange as today is the last trading day for the December 2018 futures contract", John Thorpe, a commodity broker at Los Angeles-based Cannon Trading, told UPI.

Global stock markets have slumped in the past two months on worries about corporate earnings, rising borrowing costs, slowing global economic momentum and trade tensions.

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Thousands of buildings are still threatened by the blaze and as about 50,000 people remained under evacuation orders. An army of firefighters, many from distant states, were still trying to contain and suppress the flames.

However, the United States was considering adding Venezuela, one of its biggest crude suppliers, to its list of state sponsors of terrorism but no final decision has been made, a person familiar with the deliberations said late on Monday.

Funds now hold a net long position of just 547 million barrels, less than half the recent peak of 1.1 billion at the end of September, and down from a record 1.484 billion in January.

Trump said he won't let the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi jeopardize US relations with the Saudis as oil prices may "go through the roof" if the partnership between the two nations breaks.

"While the news that OPEC+ said it would cut 1.4 million barrels of oil per day from production, it's looking likely that the cuts will have to be deeper in order to stabilise the price".

Amid the uncertainty, financial traders have become wary of oil markets, seeing further downside risk to prices from the growth in USA shale production as well as the deteriorating economic outlook. Analysts polled ahead of weekly data forecast crude stocks rose about 2.9 million barrels last week.

Russia's energy minister Alexaner Novak has reportedly remarked that the oil market alliance will monitor supply and demand in the coming weeks before deciding on production levels. With OPEC and its allies scheduled to meet in Vienna early December to discuss output plans, the International Energy Agency warned this week that cutting supplies may have some negative implications.

"We are entering an unprecedented period of uncertainty in oil markets", IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said on Tuesday.