Oil futures slumped below $11 a barrel Wednesday, weakened by a continued buildup in stocks and a nagging pessimism about the ability of OPEC to control production.
Crude oil for September delivery retreated 41 cents a barrel and heating oil plunged as much as 2.14 cents a gallon before losses were trimmed. Leaded gasoline was down as much as 0.68 cent a gallon at the close.
In some other futures markets, pork bellies advanced as much as the 2 cents-a-pound daily limit; most grain and soybeans were higher on hopes that government subsidies will be expanded to help exports, and cotton moved sharply higher on extremely active trading.
Figures released Tuesday by the American Petroleum Institute showed a sizable buildup in crude oil and heating oil stocks while refinery runs were increasing to 84.4% of capacity from 83.9%.
"This was rather negative," said Nauman Barakat, an analyst with Smith Barney, Harris Upham & Co.
Influenced also by the pessimism over the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, "the market continues to sink like the Titanic," he said.