Image: iStock
Image: iStock

Oil prices fell on Friday to lows not seen since last year as concerns over high crude supplies prompted massive selling, according to dealers.

The WTI futures contract, the New York commodities markets’ benchmark, plunged more nearly 7% on the day, while its European counterpart, Brent Crude, dropped close to 5%.

High global oil production compared to demand was the main reason for Friday’s selling, while the outlook for a weakening world economy led investors to conclude that growth would not be strong enough to absorb the surplus.

“The truth of the matter remains that rising global crude supply coupled with worrying signs of slowing demand have written a recipe for disaster for the oil markets,” said Lukman Otunuga, a research analyst at FXTM.

With a December OPEC meeting not expected to make a major dent in production levels, WTI now had scope to fall to $50 “in the near term,” he said.

By the mid-European afternoon, WTI was just below $51 and Brent just under $60.

Some analysts blamed US President Donald Trump for falling oil prices.

“Although most analysts claim that this has to do with supply overhang and increased production from Russia and Saudi Arabia, the bottom line is that the US president keeps pushing for lower prices,” said Fiona Cincotta, senior market analyst at City Index trading group.

“While this is the case it will be difficult to see a return to oil at a higher level unless oil cartel OPEC decides on a major output cut at its next meeting on December 6.”

– With reporting Agence France-Presse