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Oil analysis

U.S. Crude Declines 4%, Gasoline Prices Hit Lowest Level Ahead of Holiday Season

U.S. crude oil prices dropped by 4% on Wednesday, reaching their lowest level since late June. The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) contract for January settled at $69.38 a barrel, falling $2.94, while the Brent contract for February declined $2.90 to settle at $74.30 a barrel.

WTI Crude Oil Cash Chart

WTI Crude Oil Cash Chart

Crude Oil Brent Cash Chart

Crude Oil Brent Cash Chart

Simultaneously, retail gasoline prices in the U.S. hit their lowest point since January, averaging $3.22 per gallon, just ahead of the holiday shopping and travel season. This decline in gasoline prices followed the downward trajectory of oil prices.

Gasoline Cash Chart

Gasoline Cash Chart

OPEC+ Efforts Fail to Boost Oil Prices

Despite efforts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies (OPEC+) to boost prices, both U.S. crude and the global benchmark have fallen for five consecutive days. OPEC+ had promised to slash supply in the first quarter of 2024, but the market has remained skeptical.

Factors Contributing to Price Decline

The continuous decline in oil prices can be attributed to several factors. First, nations outside of OPEC+, particularly the U.S., have been pumping crude at an accelerated pace. Additionally, concerns about the Chinese economy have added to market worries.

Moreover, Moody’s downgraded China’s government credit rating outlook to negative from stable, exacerbating concerns about the global economy.

Mixed Picture for Demand and Supply

On Wednesday, U.S. data revealed a mixed picture for demand and supply. Crude inventories fell by 4.6 million barrels for the week ending December 1, while gasoline inventories rose by 5.4 million barrels, according to the Energy Information Agency.

The rise in gasoline stocks and the skepticism surrounding OPEC+’s commitment to supply cuts of 2.2 million barrels per day in the first quarter of 2024 have contributed to the downward pressure on oil prices.

The decline in U.S. crude oil prices, coupled with the lowest retail gasoline prices since January, reflects a complex set of factors. From concerns about the Chinese economy to increased crude production outside of OPEC+, the market is facing multiple challenges that have led to the current price decline.

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Author

  • Zahari Rangelov

    Zahari Rangelov is an experienced professional Forex trader and trading mentor with knowledge in technical and fundamental analysis, medium-term trading strategies, risk management and diversification. He has been involved in the foreign exchange markets since 2005, when he opened his first live account in 2007. Currently, Zahari is the Head of Sales & Business Development at TraderFactor's London branch. He provides lectures during webinars and seminars for traders on topics such as; Psychology of market participants’ moods, Investments & speculation with different financial instruments and Automated Expert Advisors & signal providers. Zahari’s success lies in his application of research-backed techniques and practices that have helped him become a successful forex trader, a mentor to many traders, and a respected authority figure within the trading community.