Global oil prices plunge into close, roiled by inflation fears

Oil prices slumped on Thursday, hit by a surge in the dollar after U.S. President Joe Biden said his administration was looking for ways to reduce energy costs amid a broader surge in inflation.

Brent and U.S. crude futures dropped sharply at the end of the session as traders sold out of riskier assets, including stocks and commodities, driven by expectations that central bankers will take steps to curb rising prices.

Consumer inflation data on Wednesday showed U.S. prices were rising at a 6.2% year-over-year rate, their fastest rate in three decades, and may spur both the White House and U.S. Federal Reserve to take action to head that off. That boosted the dollar, which often trades inversely to oil.

Brent crude futures settled down $2.14, or 2.5%, to $82.64 a barrel. That contract hit a high of $85.50 on the session before retreating. U.S. crude settled down $2.81, or 3.3%, to $81.34 after reaching a high of $84.97 a barrel, just off seven-year highs touched in the last few weeks.

“There’s, no doubt, more pressure on the administration after the inflation reading numbers today,” said Phil Flynn, senior analyst at Price Futures Group. “There’s a growing concern the Fed may have to go back to acting more aggressively on a rate increase, so that’s given the dollar a rally.”

ET Energy World
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