Oil Prices Are Back Up After Brief Recession-Fueled Drop Tuesday

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Global oil prices pushed slightly higher early Wednesday, a day after recession fears sent the market tumbling to its lowest point in nearly two months.

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Brent crude futures rose by 1.39% to $104.20 a barrel around midday U.K. time, Reuters reported. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude climbed 0.65% to $100.15 a barrel after closing below $100 in the previous session for the first time since late April.

On Tuesday, both contracts recorded their biggest daily drops since March. The price of WTI crude sank as much as 10% to a low of $97.43 before closing at $99.50, a drop of 8% for the day, CNN Business reported. Brent crude declined more than 10% to a low of $101.10 a barrel before closing at $102.77.

Most analysts expect oil prices to remain capped for the foreseeable future because of so many economic and market headwinds. In addition to the recession fears, a resurgent U.S. dollar has made oil expensive in other currencies, Reuters noted, which could curb demand.

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Demand could also take a hit from renewed concerns about COVID-19 lockdowns across China, while a recent strike in Norway’s petroleum sector hurt the oil supply. That strike ended on Tuesday.

As recently as June 8, Brent crude was priced at $123.58 a barrel, while WTI was at $122.11. Since then, a series of events have heightened the likelihood of a recession and sent oil prices tumbling.

One of those events was the latest U.S. Consumer Price Index, which showed that consumer prices remain at a 40-year high despite attempts by the Federal Reserve to tame inflation through interest-rate hikes. The Fed responded by hiking interest rates another 75 basis points for the first time in nearly three decades – a move many observers expect to put the skids on economic growth.

Tuesday’s sharp decline in oil prices followed last week’s report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s GDPNow tracker, which indicates the U.S. might already be in a recession.

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If you’re looking for a ray of light in this sea of darkness, there’s this: Gasoline prices have also fallen after hitting record highs in mid-June. The national average gas price was $4.779 a gallon as of June 6, according to AAA. That’s down from an all-time high of $5.016 on June 14.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.

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