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Breaking News:

U.S. Crude Oil, Gasoline Inventories Boom

Oil Falls Again As Traders Remain Concerned About U.S. Banks

Oil markets continued to be disrupted by the failure of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank over the weekend, with oil prices losing nearly 3% just shy of the closing bell on Monday. 

On Monday at 3:36 p.m. EST, Brent crude was trading down 2.96% at $80.33, for a loss of $2.45 on the day. WTI was trading down 2.99% at $74.39, for a loss of $2.29 on the day.

SVB, the go-to lender for tech startups backed by venture capitalists, failed dramatically on Friday, with shares plunging 60% before the SEC halted trading. Investors were spooked last Wednesday, when the bank announced a massive capital raise to stabilize its balance sheet. Investor fears led to a panic and a run on the bank.

On Sunday, Washington launched emergency measures to avoid the contagion spreading into a wider financial crisis. The Biden administration pledged that banks will bear the losses, not taxpayers. 

The failure of SVB and Signature Bank, which led to a takeover by the authorities on Friday, has sparked fears that the contagion, blamed on the Federal Reserve’s aggressive rate hikes, could spread to other banks. 

At the same time, the failures–the second and third largest in U.S. history–have prompted speculation that the Fed could slow the pace of rate hikes going forward, as a result.

U.S. stocks overall have been experiencing choppy trade, with lots of movement on safe-haven assets and shying away from oil and gas, but the impact of the SVB failure clearly caught traders unprepared. 

"Energy traders were not expecting the collapse of the 16th-largest lender in America to trigger a major risk-aversion wave that would send Brent crude below the $80 a barrel level," Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda, said in a note cited by Morningstar.

Speaking to Reuters on Monday, Price Futures Group analyst Phil Flynn said it was “kind of surprising” to see oil prices plunging “considering the fact that the Fed more than likely will have a harder time raising interest rates aggressively, and that should cause weakness in the dollar”. 

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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