Oil prices fell sharply in the week as mounting concerns about weakening fuel demand in China outweighed fears that Russian supply could drop next month when tighter EU sanctions on its crude exports come into force. West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark, lost about 10 per cent this week, falling 1.9 per cent on Friday to settle at $80.08 a barrel. It was the biggest weekly loss since March.
US oil prices fell by more than 4 per cent to $78.50 a barrel earlier in the day, to what was the lowest price since September. The WTI futures curve also switched into mild contango — a market structure in which the forward price of a contract is more expensive than the spot price, and which reflects perceptions of oversupply.
Brent crude, the international marker, fell about 9 per cent in the week, losing 2.4 per cent on Friday to settle at $87.62.
Friday’s sell-off left US oil prices down about 14 per cent below the highs struck in October after the Opec+ cartel defied US pressure to announce a plan to cut production in a bid to prop up a weakening crude market.