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Fundamentals Take A Back Seat As Fear Dominates Oil Markets

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices rallied on Thursday, ending a three-day losing streak, as reports emerged that Saudi Arabia and Russia were discussing ways to enhance market stability. Nonetheless, the U.S. benchmark remains in a position to post a nearly 10% loss for the week.

Weekly Recap

WTI and Brent oil prices plunged throughout the week to their lowest levels in more than a year on concerns that a crisis of confidence in the banking sector could trigger a recession and cut demand. Both crude benchmarks hit their lowest levels since December 2021 after posting a steep three-day plunge. Brent had fallen by more than 10% since Friday's close, while U.S. crude was down more than 14% at one point.

Hedge funds were liquidating because of rising interest rates and economic uncertainty. Heavy selling pressure on U.S. stock markets was adding to the fund liquidation in crude. The U.S. dollar also strengthened against a basket of currencies, making it more expensive for holders of those currencies to purchase crude.

Adding to the bearishness in the market, U.S. crude stockpiles rose by 1.6 million barrels last week, government data showed, more than the expected rise of 1.2 million barrels in a Reuters poll of analysts.

The primary driver behind the bearish price action was a broad concern for the global economy and risk-off sentiment in the market.

Crude recovered some of its earlier losses along with benchmark equity…

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