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Oil Hits Lowest Price Since 2003

Hoosier Ag Today by: Gary Truitt

Oil futures fell again on Thursday, with West Texas Intermediate crude marking its lowest settlement in nearly 13 years, as traders concluded that last week’s modest fall in U.S. crude supplies wasn’t enough to outweigh pressure from a global supply glut and worries about weaker oil demand.

March WTI crude fell by $1.24, or 4.5%, to settle at $26.21 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after touching a low of $26.05. That was the lowest settlement since May 6, 2003, according to FactSet. Prices have now fallen for six sessions in a row.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration on Wednesday reported that crude inventories fell by around 800,000 barrels for the week ended Feb. 5, which marked the first weekly decline in five weeks.

But “the market took the view…that the decline in U.S. crude-oil stockpiles would be temporary and this kept downward pressure on prices overnight,” said an ANZ Bank report.

The International Energy Agency and the EIA said this week they expect such oversupply to persist for months, keeping prices low. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries earlier Wednesday cut its forecasts for global oil-demand growth, citing lower consumer appetite in places such as Russia and Brazil despite low prices.

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