The sell-off in global oil markets showed little signs of slowing in the new year, falling as much as 6 percent to their lowest since spring of 2009 as fears of a supply glut that vexed the market for the past six months deepened.
US crude crashed below $50 a barrel while benchmark Brent crude tumbled under $53 after data showed Russian oil output at post-Soviet era highs and Iraqi oil exports at near 35-year peaks.
US driller ConocoPhillips added to the bearish sentiment, announcing it had struck first oil at a Norwegian North Sea project.
US crude settled down $2.65, or 5 percent, at $50.04 a barrel, and was at a post-settlement low of $49.77 by 3:15 p.m. ET (2015 GMT). The last time US crude traded below $50 was in April 2009.
Front-month Brent closed down $3.31, or almost 6 percent, at $53.11 a barrel. It dropped earlier to $52.66, its lowest since May 2009.
Top crude exporter Saudi Arabia has made deep cuts to its monthly oil prices for European buyers, a move that analysts said reflects the kingdom’s deepening defence of market share. Saudi Arabia also trimmed prices for US refiners while raising rates for Asia.
The euro’s tumble to 2006 lows, and slower-than-expected growth in US manufacturing, completed a perfect storm for the bearish oil markets.
Source: Buenos Aires Herald