Oil prices hammered by U.S. storage, OPEC resilience
19 Mar 2015
By: Daniel J. Graeber
NEW YORK, March 19 (UPI) -- Both U.S. and global crude oil prices took a beating Thursday as OPEC signaled no sign of a slowdown while supplies build up in the United States.
The price for West Texas Intermediate crude oil suffered heavy losses in early Thursday trading, falling nearly 4 percent to $42.90 for a new six-year low. WTI prices are now nearly 60 percent below June 2014 levels and off more than 18 percent since the start of the year, despite a February rally.
Crude oil prices are trading lower as markets stay weighted toward the supply side. Prices faltered Wednesday after the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development expressed concern about the slow pace of economic recovery.
Thursday's price collapse was in response to U.S. data showing the amount of crude oil in storage was at a record high. A weekly report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed commercial crude oil inventories in the United States increased by 9.6 million barrels for the week ending March 13.
"At 458.5 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are at the highest level for this time of year in at least the last 80 years," the report read.
U.S. crude oil production for the week ending March 13 was 9.4 million barrels per day, a increase of about one half percent from the previous week.
A November decision from members of the Organization of Petroleum Countries to keep output steady despite the bear market for crude oil sent prices on a downward spiral. Kuwait's oil minister said Thursday what was embraced in November still stands.
OPEC ministers have suggested there may be a recovery in oil prices as the year progresses.
The price for Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, has been relatively spared in recent trading sessions, but it too was down from Wednesday's close. Brent for May delivery was near $54.10 per barrel in early Thursday trading, down 3.1 percent.