Oil Futures Settle Sharply Lower On Demand Concerns, Firm Dollar

Oil prices fell sharply on Tuesday amid concerns over the outlook for energy demand due to global economic slowdown.

The dollar’s rise weighed as well on oil prices. The dollar index climbed to 101.95 this afternoon, gaining about 0.6%.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for June ended lower by $1.69 or almost 2.2% at $77.07 a barrel.

Brent crude futures settled at $80.77 a barrel today with a loss of $1.96 or about 2.4%.

A report released by the Conference Board today showed consumer confidence has deteriorated by much more than anticipated in the month of April.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index slumped to 101.3 in April from a revised 104.0 in March. Economists had expected the index to edge down to 104.0 from the 104.2 originally reported for the previous month.

Meanwhile, First Republic reported a loss of more than $100 billion in deposits in the first quarter, renewing concerns about turmoil in the banking sector.

Investors now await the monetary policy meetings of the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and the Bank of England.

The three central banks are widely expected to raise interest rates in order to fight inflation, and it is feared that policy tightening by the banks could significantly slow down economic growth.

“Concerns about China’s recovery aren’t going and until we see strong signs crude demand is improving. Unless we see risk appetite quickly return to Wall Street, it could get uglier for crude prices,” says Edward Moya, Chief Financial Analyst at OANDA.

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