Oil's 2-day decline: more than $10 a barrel

Crude futures close down over $4 a barrel after a surprise growth in crude and gasoline stockpiles hints at the impact of high prices on usage.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
By Kenneth Musante, CNNMoney.com staff writer

Do you feel your money is safe at your bank?
  • Yes
  • No
  • Unsure

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Oil prices plummeted Wednesday, bringing the two-day selloff to $10.58 a barrel, on reports indicating that demand for oil and gas may slacken in the future.

The government's weekly inventory report suggested that record high gasoline prices may be reducing the nation's energy consumption, and OPEC released a report on Tuesday indicating that global demand for 2009 would be less than it was in 2008.

Light sweet crude oil for August delivery settled down $4.14 to close at $134.60 a barrel on Wednesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Wednesday's drop followed a $6.44 plunge Tuesday that was the second largest decline ever on a dollar basis.

Government supply report: The government's weekly stockpile report showed that crude supplies rose by 3 million barrels in the week ended July 11. Analysts were looking for a drop of 3 million barrels according to a poll by energy research firm Platts.

Gasoline supplies rose by 2.4 million barrels, rather than the 1.1 million decline analysts expected.

Distillates, used to make diesel fuel, jet fuel and heating oil, rose by 3.2 million barrels. Analysts were looking for an increase of only 1.7 million barrels.

"That, coupled with the general malaise that's out there with the economic outlook, sets us up with a potential cracking of these oil prices," said John Kilduff, energy analyst with MF Global.

Bernanke: The two-day oil selloff follows the gloomy economic picture being painted by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in his Congressional testimony.

On Tuesday, Bernanke told the Senate Banking Committee that high energy prices and slower economic growth have limited ability of U.S. households to purchase fuel and other necessities.

Bernanke also appeared Wednesday before the House Financial Services Committee, saying that inflation was "likely to move temporarily higher in the near term."

The price of gasoline and diesel fuel in the United States touched new records Wednesday, according to a daily survey from motorist group AAA. Gasoline is more than 35% more expensive than last year.

"The weaker economic outlook, the inventory build, all contribute," said Amanda Kurzendoerfer, commodities analyst with Summit Energy. However she warned that long-term investors may see the price decline as a buying opportunity.

"The one thing we can be sure of is that we're looking at a lot of volatility going forward," she said.

OPEC, Brazil: The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which supplies about 40% of the world's oil, cut its demand forecast for 2009 Tuesday to an increase of 900,000 barrels a day, 100,000 barrels less than 2008.

There were also reports that production in Brazil had not been hurt as much as originally feared by a labor strike in the Campos Basin, which supplies about 80% of the country's oil, and tensions eased with Iran, the second largest producing member of OPEC.

State-owned oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA said production had not been affected by the ongoing strike at 33 offshore platforms that began on Monday. To top of page

Features
They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
Some Converse copycats cost big bucks A few bargain brands got swept up in Chuck Taylor's net, but others cost a pretty penny. More
Urban infrastructure gets a second life Railroad beds become parks, power plants become aquariums and slaughterhouses are now art centers as an industrial past turns people-centric. More
Boomtown moms From working mothers raising their kids in RVs to stay-at-home moms who spend their days organizing events for the Oil Wives club, meet the moms of North Dakota's oil boom. More


Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.