Oil tumbles 9% on recession demand destruction fears

By
3 minute read

A view of the Phillips 66 Company's Los Angeles Refinery (foreground), which processes domestic & imported crude oil into gasoline, aviation and diesel fuels, and storage tanks for refined petroleum products at the Kinder Morgan Carson Terminal (background), at sunset in Carson, California, U.S., March 11, 2022. REUTERS/Bing Guan

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com
  • Oil sees biggest daily percentage drop since March
  • China's Shanghai announces two new rounds of mass COVID testing
  • Euro back at 2002 levels, dollar up on safe-haven demand
  • Trading declines spread to natural gas, gasoline, heating oil
  • Norway government stops strike in oil and gas sector, union says

NEW YORK, July 5 (Reuters) - Oil plummeted about 9% on Tuesday in the biggest daily drop since March on growing fears of a global recession and lockdowns in China that could slash demand.

Global benchmark Brent crude settled at $102.77 a barrel, losing $10.73, or 9.5%. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude ended8.2%, or $8.93, lower at $99.50 a barrel. There was no WTI settlement on Monday because of a U.S. holiday.

Both benchmarks logged their biggest daily percentage decline since March 9 and hit share prices of major oil and gas companies.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

"We're getting creamed and the only way you can explain that away is fear of recession," said Robert Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho. "You're feeling the pressure."

Oil futures sank along with natural gas, gasoline and equities, which often serve as demand indicator for crude.

Meanwhile, mass COVID-19 testing in China stocked fears of potential lockdowns that threaten to deepen cuts to oil consumption.

Shanghai said it would begin new rounds of mass testing of its 25 million residents over a three-day period, citing an effort to trace infections linked to an outbreak at a karaoke bar. read more

"We're seeing some panic liquidation. Lots of nervousness," said Dennis Kissler, senior vice president for trading at BOK Financial.

Concerns that U.S. summer driving season demand would fall off after the Fourth of July holiday also appeared to weigh on the market, Kissler said.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) slipped about 1% while the S&P 500 Index (.SPX) fell less than 1%. U.S. prices for natural gas dropped 4.7%, heating oil fell about 8% and gasoline for delivery at New York Harbor fell 10.5%.

If a recession does hit, and takes a significant bite out of energy demand, more wild swings to the downside could be in store, said Andy Lipow, president of consultancy Lipow Oil Associates.

"The commodity market can be quite unforgiving when you go into a recession and supplies outstrip demand," Lipow said.

Meanwhile, safe-haven demand for U.S. Treasuries boosted the dollar by about 1.3%, which in turn weighed on greenback-denominated oil as it becomes more expensive for buyers holding other currencies.

The euro tumbled to a two-decade low as data showed business growth across the euro zone slowed further last month, with forward-looking indicators suggesting the region could slip into decline this quarter as the cost of living crisis keeps consumers wary. read more

In South Korea, inflation hit a near 24-year high in June, adding to concerns about slowing economic growth and oil demand. read more

Supply concerns still linger, initially lifting WTI and Brent earlier in the session, due to expected output disruption in Norway, where offshore workers began a strike. read more

Late in the session, the Norwegian government intervened to stop the strike that had cut oil and gas output, a labour union leader told Reuters.

Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, raised August crude oil prices for Asian buyers to near record levels amid tight supply and robust demand. read more

Meanwhile, Russia's former President Dmitry Medvedev said a reported proposal from Japan to cap the price of Russian oil at about half its current level would mean less oil on the market and could push prices above $300-$400 a barrel. read more

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com
Additional reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin in London, Florence Tan and Muyu Xu; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Edmund Blair

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.