Crude oil prices
dropped off sharply for a second straight day Thursday, Dec. 2, trading near
$43 a barrel.
The two-day slide of
nearly $6 a barrel marks the biggest decline since the Gulf War as traders
focused on rising U.S. fuel supplies and the lack of cold weather.
Analysts told The
Associated Press that the selloff in oil prices was also being aided by
comments from an OPEC official that the cartel is likely to agree to keep production
at current levels when it meets Dec. 10.
Light, sweet crude
for delivery in January fell $2.34 to $43.15 a barrel in afternoon trading
Thursday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, marking the lowest price since
U.S. prices plunged
$3.64 a barrel on Wednesday after the Energy Department reported that the
nation’s supply of distillate fuel, which includes heating oil, diesel and jet
fuel, grew by 2.3 million barrels last week to 117.9 million barrels.
two-session fall in crude oil prices is the fourth biggest in the Nymex’s
While there’s no likelihood of fuel shortages, traders say a
cold snap in North America could deplete stocks and spur higher prices. But for
now the demand on heating oil inventories seems limited, The AP reported. It is the strong demand for diesel by the trucking industry that is
putting the most pressure on distillate fuel supplies.
The Energy Department reported that U.S. crude oil
inventories grew by 900,000 barrels last week to 293.3 million barrels, or
nearly 10 million barrels higher than a year ago.