Oil stayed below $20 a barrel after U.S. crude inventories swelled by the most on record and the International Energy Agency warned of epic demand destruction.
Futures fell as much as 4.5% in New York to the lowest since 2002. American oil supplies rose almost 20 million barrels last week, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, underscoring an earlier report from the International Energy Agency that said even a historic production cut isn’t sufficient to counter the record demand slump caused by the current pandemic. Oil demand will drop by over 9 million barrels a day this year, wiping out a decade of consumption growth and filling up storage by mid-year, the agency said. While Saudi Arabia and other Middle East producers have pledged to cut supply starting next month, they continue to flood the market in April.
Stockpiles in the U.S. increased for a 12th straight week while European inventories increased the most in more than a year last week. This is weakening key physical market gauges. New York oil futures moved deeper into contango, signaling an expanding oversupply, while swap prices indicate North Sea cargoes are at their biggest discounts to Brent futures in more than a decade.
- West Texas Intermediate fell 24 cents to $19.87 a barrel as of 10:41 a.m. in New York
- Brent declined $1.94 to $27.66 a barrel
- Dated Brent, the benchmark for two-thirds of the world’s physical supply, was assessed at $20.66 on Tuesday, compared with $23.73 on Thursday, according to S&P Global Platts
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