Oil dips below $100 to pre-invasion levels as recession fears grip energy markets

·2 min read
A protestor holding up a signboard "No Putin Oil" among Ukraine flags
A St. Paul, Minnesota protest against the Ukraine war.Michael Siluk/UCG/Universal Images Group/Getty Images
  • Brent crude, oil's international benchmark, hit $95.55 Thursday as prices fell to pre-invasion levels.

  • Energy supply shortages in Europe could tip the EU into a recession, while a recession in the US may already be here.

  • West Texas Intermediate hovered above $92 after trading above $96 in the previous session.

International oil prices dropped below $100 Thursday to levels last seen before Russia invaded Ukraine, as investors digested a wave of warnings about the state of the global economy.

Brent crude oil was trading at $95.55 shortly after 10 a.m. ET, down about 5%.

Wednesday's session marked the second consecutive day Brent crude traded below $100 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate also dipped Thursday to just above $92 after trading above $96 Wednesday.

Recession and global growth concerns have weighed on oil prices in recent weeks, as both benchmarks have turned lower even as war in Ukraine and Western sanctions on Russia continue to throttle energy supplies globally.

On Wednesday, the International Monetary Fund said it would slash its annual global growth forecast this month for the second time since April as a slew of risk factors weigh on the world's economies. Meanwhile, a hot inflation report in the US has markets fearing a recession will be difficult to avoid as the Federal Reserve hikes interest rates to rein in high prices.

Wednesday's inflation report showed June CPI at 9.1%, above the expected 8.8%, which paves the way for the Fed to make an aggressive rate hike this month. Top economist Mohamed El-Erian forecasted Wednesday that the Fed could raise interest rates by 100 basis points to stem historically high prices.

"The Fed now has no choice but to respond aggressively," El-Erian wrote in a column for the Financial Times. "It is sure to increase interest rates by 0.75 percentage points later this month and could well consider a 1 percentage point rise."

Meanwhile, some concern remains about crude prices skyrocketing once again, depending on what happens overseas. As things stand, the US and OPEC lack spare capacities and won't be able to dramatically ramp up output to resolve a worsening energy crunch.

An analyst from Truist predicted that oil could surge above prices seen earlier this year, to $150 a barrel if Russian crude disappears from the market and isn't replaced.

"Russian capacity comes offline, and I think you see a spike potentially 50% higher before the end of the year," the analyst warned.

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