Crude oil prices plunged sharply on Tuesday amid speculation of a possible drop in demand for oil due to uncertainty about the outlook for global economic growth and on expectations that U.S. crude inventories may have risen for a fifth straight week.
The American Petroleum Institute is scheduled to come out with its weekly oil report later in the day, while the official inventory data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration is due tomorrow morning.
Crude oil futures for December delivery ended down $2.93, or 4.2%, at $66.43 a barrel, the lowest settlement since August 20.
On Monday, crude oil futures ended up $0.08, or 0.1%, at $69.36 a barrel.
Traders have shrugged off fears about the impact of U.S. sanctions against Iranian Oil on global crude supply after Saudi Arabia pledged to make up for the loss of Iranian oil, by playing a ‘responsible role’ in the market.
Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Khalid al-Falih has reportedly said that the kingdom has no intention of an oil embargo on Western consumers, despite the current crisis following allegations that it murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The minister added that Saudi Arabia would strive to increase supply.
The recent reports from EIA and OPEC about comfortable supply levels have eased concerns about supply. EIA recently forecast that U.S. crude oil production will average 10.7 million barrels per day in 2018, up from 9.4 million barrels per day in 2017, and will average 11.8 million barrels per day in 2019.
On Friday, Baker Hughes, the U.S. oil services firm, reported that U.S. oil rig count was at 3-1/2 year highs as on October 19.