Environment

Oil prices fall for fourth session ahead of busy Memorial Day travel weekend

A pumpjack is shown outside the Midland-Odessa area in the Permian basin in Texas, July 17, 2018.
Liz Hampton | Reuters

Crude oil futures bounced back Thursday after a three-day decline but are still on pace for a weekly loss.

U.S. crude oil is down 2.4% for the week while Brent, the global benchmark, is down 1.8%.

Here are today’s energy prices:

  • West Texas Intermediate July contract: $78.04 a barrel, up 47 cents, or 0.6%. Year to date, U.S. crude oil is up 8.9%.
  • Brent July contract: $82.40 a barrel, up 50 cents or 0.6%. Year to date, the global benchmark is up about 7%.
  • RBOB Gasoline June contract: $2.49 per gallon, up 1.1%. Year to date, gasoline futures are up 18.6%.
  • Natural Gas June contract: $2.79 per thousand cubic feet. Year to date, natural gas is up 11.3%.

Oil prices have been stuck in a $3 range since their April highs as fears of a wider war in the Middle East ease and traders shift their focus back to basic supply and demand.

Prices have struggled to break out this month with investors remaining cautious that higher-for-longer interest rates couldslow the U.S. economy and weigh on oil demand, according to Giovanni Staunovo, a commodity analyst at UBS.

Traders are also worried about a buildup in global oil inventories after a mild winter in parts of the Northern Hemisphere, Staunovo told clients in a note Thursday.

Nevertheless, UBS sees the oil market in a deficit and is forecasting Brent will rise to $91 per barrel in coming months. The bank also sees healthy demand growth of 1.5 million barrels per day in 2024, above the long-term growth rate of 1.2 million barrels per day.

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