The oil market is in meltdown mode.
US crude crashed an insane 41% on Monday to as low as $10.77 a barrel – the weakest level since December 1998.
The latest collapse leaves oil down 83% since the January peak of $63.27 a barrel.
— Holger Zschaepitz (@Schuldensuehner) April 20, 2020
Monday’s nosedive was driven by two major forces: the expiration of the oil futures contract and the rapidly vanishing space to store unneeded barrels of oil. Although the May contract crashed below $11 on low volume, the June contract traded above $22.
That unbelievably large spread is because of the storage problem. Companies will need to pile up barrels in more expensive places like ships. The wider the spread, the more economical these storage alternatives would be.
The remaining 21 million barrels of storage at the Cushing, Oklahoma, hub will likely be filled up in May — causing “panic” in the oil markets, Bjornar Tonhaugen, head of oil markets at Rystad Energy, wrote in an email.
Oil prices spiked above $28 a barrel on April 3 after President Donald Trump talked up massive production cuts by Saudi Arabia and Russia. Crude is now sitting 62% below those April 3 levels.