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Oil Prices Plunge As Bearish Sentiment Builds

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures plunged on Thursday, reaching their lowest point since late March. The move also turned the market lower for the week. Crude oil is also testing an area not visited since the unexpected announcement of an OPEC+ production cut. Essentially, one of the primary drivers of the decline in oil prices is the widespread apprehension surrounding the possibility of an economic recession.

Early in the week as prices fell, some analysts thought the weakness was attributed to the market pricing in the OPEC+ output cuts. However, as the selling pressure intensified following a series of bearish indicators, it became clear that traders were pricing in a possible recession and the prospect of lower demand.

Weakening Economic Activity Points Signals Lower Fuel Demand

According to the latest data, there has been a moderate increase in the number of Americans filing for new claims of unemployment benefits, which may indicate a slowdown in the labor market. The most recent figures from Thursday show that initial claims in the U.S. rose slightly to 245,000, while the previous week was revised to reflect 1,000 more claims than previously reported.

In addition, a separate report from the Philadelphia Fed showed that factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region fell sharply to its lowest level in almost three years in April, with manufacturers in the area expecting activity to remain subdued for the next six months.

The housing…

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