Oil prices dropped again this morning, continuing a near month-long slide.
This time it was the plunge in world stock markets that dragged down the price of crude, stoking fears of an economic downturn that would cut energy demand.
, a benchmark used in international contracts, was 0.55% lower at $75.75 a barrel, while (WTI) was down by the same percentage, at $66.45 a barrel.
Since 25 September, Brent has gone from $81.87 a barrel to a peak of $86.29 on 3 October, to $76.17 on 24 October. WTI prices have followed a similar pattern, from $72.78 on 25 September to $76.41 on 3 October and $66.82 on 24 October.
Oil’s woes have been blamed on various causes during the past month. The first factor in the frame was the trade war rhetoric of President Donald Trump and fears that tariff barriers, and other obstacles to world commerce, could tip the global economy into recession.
But the early October price rally seemed to put that issue to one side as traders’ attention switched to suggestions of a supply shortage. Reduced output from Iran and rapidly declining production in Venezuela, it was thought, would bolster the price.
Support factors kicked away
Members of the 15-country Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and their allies in the so-called NOPEC group, which includes Russia and Oman, would not be able, it was thought, to make up the shortfall. Expectations of shortages were heightened by the controversy over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the country’s consulate in Istanbul.