Oil slumps 5%, U.S. crude at its cheapest since March

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices plunged about 5% on Thursday, with U.S. crude at its lowest since March, as trade tensions dampened the demand outlook, putting the crude benchmarks on course for their biggest daily and weekly falls in six months. World shares were deep in the red as concerns grew the China-U.S. trade conflict was fast turning into a technology cold war between the world’s two largest economies. “Again, we’re seeing the effect of worries about the trade issue on demand,” said Gene McGillian, Vice President at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. Funds and money managers who had built up long positions are “heading to the exits” as trade concerns dim the demand outlook, he said. Brent crude futures, the international benchmark, hit a session low of $67.53 per barrel, trading down $3.15, or 4.5%, at $67.84 by 11:19 a.m. EDT (1519 GMT). Meanwhile, U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down by $3.21, or 5.2%, at $58.19 per barrel. The contract earlier fell to a session low of $57.92, the lowest since March 15. WTI dropped 2.5% on Wednesday after government data showed that U.S. crude inventories rose last week, hitting their highest levels since July… continue reading

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