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Oil slumps for 3rd week as recession fears rattle market

Workers walk past oil barrels at a filling station in n Chennai on February 24, 2022. (Photo by Arun SANKAR / AFP)

Oil fell for the third straight week as concerns about softening demand were exacerbated by low trading volumes.

West Texas Intermediate for June delivery rose 4.05 percent to US$71.34 a barrel, but posted a weekly loss of 7.09 percent amid renewed instability among regional US lenders and fears that the economy is headed into a recession.

The string of weekly declines is the longest this year.

Brent crude for July delivery increased 3.86 percent to US$75.30 a barrel, down 6.26 percent from a week earlier.

Signs of strength in the physical oil market suggest the sell-off — which included a brief, dramatic plunge to the lowest intraday level since 2021 — might have been excessive.

Shell PLC CEO Wael Sawan on Thursday said that the market was actually “pretty tight.”

“There is good reason to be bullish — the trouble is that oil traders are a fickle bunch,” PVM Oil Associates Ltd analyst Stephen Brennock said.

“It will only be a matter of time before OPEC production cuts, lackluster supply from non-OPEC+ and the constructive demand picture in China take center stage once more,” Brennock said.

Oil prices have dropped about 11 percent this year, showing that a plan by OPEC and its allies to regain control of the market by cutting output starting this month is not yet working. The losses have been driven by concerns that global growth is slowing, potentially hurting energy demand.

In the Middle East, Iraq said it has yet to strike a deal with Turkey that would allow for the resumption of almost 500,000 barrels a day of Iraqi oil exports through the country.

The standoff between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government has halted shipments from the port of Ceyhan since late March.



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