Oil mixed as weak Chinese data, growing U.S. supplies offset Trump plan to ease lockdown

Business

Oil prices were mixed on Friday, with weak Chinese economic figures and rapidly filling U.S. crude storage offsetting bullishness built on U.S. President Donald Trump’s outlines for the U.S. economy to emerge from the coronavirus shutdown.

U.S. crude futures hit a more than 18-year-low, extending their losses in comparison to global benchmark Brent, in part due to the coming expiration of the current May contract.

However, later-dated futures contracts were also down as the country’s storage rapidly fills, and producers and traders expect output cuts in coming months.

Oil prices have remained weak even after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers last weekend announced a deal to cut output by nearly 10 million barrels per day (bpd) in response to weak demand.

Brent futures LCOc1 rose 26 cents, or 0.9%, to settle at $28.08 a barrel while West Texas Intermediate crude contract (WTI) for June CLc2, which became the day’s more active contract, ended the session down 50 cents, or 2%, at $25.03.

The less active prompt WTI for May delivery CLc1 tumbled by $1.60, or 8.1%, to $18.27, ahead of its April 21 expiration as investors rapidly switched out of that contract into June futures. The contract slumped to a low of $17.31 a barrel during the session, the lowest since November 2001.