Brent futures for June delivery fell 15% to trade near $ 16 a barrel, while New York’s West Texas Intermediate fell 5% after losing nearly half its value on Tuesday. Prices continue to plummet as fears that the massive flooding that brought WTI to minus $ 40.32 a barrel on Monday in May will only get worse.
Given global demand, which is being held back by the blocking of corona viruses, concerns that the unwanted oil will overwhelm storage capacity have triggered a sales frenzy. The OPEC + coalition oil ministers held an unscheduled conference call on Tuesday to discuss the routine. However, a final statement signaled that they had not agreed on new policies.
The alliance agreed to cut production by about 10 million barrels a day earlier this month, but the cuts won’t take effect until May. Even then, they will not be enough to offset the virus’s demand destruction, which could be as high as 30 million barrels a day.
There is evidence that these astonishingly low prices will persist as the dwarves’ consumption. Royal Vopak NV, the world’s largest independent storage company, said almost all of the space will be sold, while Clarksons Platou said that floating storage is accelerating at an “unprecedented pace”. The traditional oil bull Pierre Andurand warned that crude could fall below zero again and described the market as dangerous for trade.
The U.S. Oil Fund, the world’s largest crude oil tracking vehicle, is at risk of becoming another victim of the crisis. The fund has attempted to convert its holdings into longer-term contracts under the measures imposed in the past few days.
Further losses occurred when Interactive Brokers LLC announced a preliminary loss of $ 88 million after customers who held long positions in May after WTI expired triggered losses that exceeded the equity of their accounts. In South Korea, the meltdown has frozen Kiwoom Securities Co.’s trading system as it did not see prices below zero.
“The entire energy market is still on a knife edge because what should have been contained within the WTI contract for May delivery has now had far-reaching spillover effects,” said Howie Lee, economist at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. in Singapore. The existence of the US oil fund is questionable and there are no answers yet to storage or when demand could improve, he said.
Brent settlement for June on the ICE Futures Europe stock exchange fell 15% from 1:28 p.m. in Singapore to USD 16.35 a barrel after falling 24% on Tuesday. It fell to $ 15.98, the weakest since June 1999.
WTI for June lost 5.2% to $ 10.97 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell to just $ 6.50 at a time on Tuesday, with trading stopped three times to cope with volatility.
Dated Brent Crude Oil Price Benchmark
The Dated Brent benchmark, a global reference for nearly two-thirds of the world’s physical flows, fell to $ 13.24 a barrel on Tuesday, the lowest since 1999, the oil price reporting agency said. That means major European and African crude oil flows, including the Urals and Bonny Light, are now selling below $ 10 as they trade at a discount to the Dated Brent benchmark.
In the United States, the Texas Railroad Commission decided to postpone a decision to introduce oil production quotas, while the Trump administration promised to save the industry with economic funds and other measures. In the meantime, the American Exploration and Production Council said China was in default of buying more US energy and called on the White House to toughen Beijing.
Inventories at the largest U.S. storage center in Cushing, Oklahoma, have been at their highest since 2017 and are expected to continue to grow. The industry-funded American Petroleum Institute reported that crude oil reserves rose 13.2 million barrels last week and deliveries in Cushing rose nearly 5 million barrels, according to people familiar with the data. Official figures from the Energy Information Administration are expected later on Wednesday.
“No one knows where the bottom is,” said Vandana Hari, founder of Vanda Insights in Singapore. There could be another round of bloodshed if the EIA data shows a similar increase in inventory levels as the API numbers, she said.