LONDON: Crude oil futures fell dramatically on Monday, with US futures touching levels not seen since 1999, extending weakness on the back of sliding demand and concerns that US storage facilities will soon fill to the brim amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The oil market has been under pressure due to a spate of reports on weak fuel consumption and grim forecasts from the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the International Energy Agency.
The volume of oil held in US storage, especially at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) contract, is rising as refiners throttle back activity due to slumping demand.
The front-month May WTI contract CLc1 was down $2.62, or 14%, to $15.65 a barrel by 0142GMT. At one point, the contract had fallen as much as 21% to hit a low of $14.47 a barrel, the lowest since March 1999.
That contract is expiring on Tuesday, and the June contract CLc2, which is becoming more actively traded, fell $1.28, or 5.1%, to $23.75 a barrel. Brent LCOc1 was also weaker, down 21 cents, or 0.8%, to $27.87 a barrel.