Oil futures fell even lower Wednesday following concerns about global economic conditions, the state of the U.S. economy, and increased domestic drilling activity.
July WTI Crude fell 96 cents, or about 2%, to $47.53, while August Brent Crude dropped $1.20, or 2.4%, to $48.63. Wednesday's action marked the fifth straight day of decline for oil futures, negating much of the momentum that had built up over the last month or so.
The oil market has been heading downward since Friday when Baker Hughes BHI announced that the number of rigs drilling in the United States was up for the second straight week. While overall shale production is still expected to decline in July, more rigs in operation is not what an already flooded oil market needs.
Moreover, investors around the world are bracing for the United Kingdom's referendum next week, which will see the country vote on whether or not to stay in the European Union. Until that issue settles itself, concerns about the global economic environment will remain high.
Also contributing to today's commodities action was the Federal Reserve's decision not to increase its interest rate today. The Fed also announced that six members now only expect one rate hike this year, up from one member in the last meeting.
This sent the dollar a bit lower, and although a weak dollar typically boosts oil prices , the fact that it is coming from increased uncertainty surrounding the U.S. economy is certainly not good news for oil.
Although today's prices are a long way from the sub-$30 barrels we were seeing just a few months ago, the oil market remains extremely volatile.
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