- Crude oil prices slid on Thursday after renewed production in Libya prompted concerns of extraneous market supply.
- West Texas Intermediate contracts fell as much as 4% to $39.27, while Brent crude declined 3.1% to an intraday low of $41.93.
- The commodity has faced strong pressure through the coronavirus pandemic as production cuts struggle to keep up with tanking demand.
- While both futures have settled near $40 per barrel, WTI could sink back to the mid-$30s “if the demand outlook shows further signs of faltering,” Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA, said.
- Watch West Texas Intermediate crude trade live here.
- Watch Brent crude trade live here.
Crude oil futures sank on Thursday after revived production at a Libyan oil field sparked fears of an inventory flood.
West Texas Intermediate contracts slipped as much as 4% to $39.27. Brent crude, the commodity’s international standard, fell 3.1% to an intraday low of $41.93. Both contracts retraced some gains following the decline.
The Messla oil field and Sarir refinery restarted operations after halting due to technical issues, Bloomberg reported Thursday. Crude imports and exports had also been halted in Libya since January due regional tensions and the country’s civil war. The new supply out of the country adds inventory to a market that largely doesn’t want it.
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“Oil seems ripe for a pullback here and if the demand outlook shows further signs of faltering, WTI could settle back towards the mid-$30s,” Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA, said Thursday.
Futures have repeatedly faced pressure through the coronavirus pandemic from supply buildups. Oil demand remains at historic lows, and even a slight uptick in production threatens to flood the market with unwanted inventory. When such an oversupply occurred in April, WTI contracts tanked to negative prices and shocked global markets.
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US oil has since turned higher and loosely reconnected with its international peer’s price action. Yet after rallying through May, prices have stabilized at $40 per barrel. With coronavirus cases surging throughout the US and some lockdown measures going back into effect, oil demand shows no signs of picking up in the near future.
WTI contracts for August delivery traded at $39.95 per barrel as of 12:10 p.m. ET Thursday. Brent futures traded at $42.63 per barrel.
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