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Oil falls below $92 a barrel, a six-month low

May 16, 2012|By Tiffany Hsu
  • Crude oil future traders work on the floor of the New York Mercantile Exchange in New York.
Crude oil future traders work on the floor of the New York Mercantile Exchange… (Jason Szenes / EPA )

Crude oil futures tumbled to a six-month low overnight amid worries about oversupply in the U.S. and political instability in Greece.

West Texas Intermediate futures slumped $2.17 on the New York Mercantile Exchange to $91.81 a barrel in midday trading, an intra-session low not reached since Nov. 3. They closed Tuesday down 80 cents to $93.98 a barrel, the lowest end-of-day number since Dec. 19.

Traders reacted to a Tuesday report from the American Petroleum Institute, which noted a higher-than-expected spike of 6.6 million barrels in U.S. crude stocks.

Given the rumblings in Greece, which failed to form a coalition government earlier this month and has new elections coming which may determine whether the country sticks with the euro, investors are concerned about the size of the oil stockpile.

The Energy Information Administration will release its own set of oil data later Wednesday.

Should Hellenic instability cause the rest of Europe to tip into recession, demand for crude would probably weaken. With inventories already at a two-decade high, prices could tank further.

U.S. gasoline stockpiles tumbled 2.6 million barrels last week, according to API.

In the Western U.S., the lowest May gas supplies in 20 years have caused prices to continue climbing even as they slide in the rest of the country.

National average gasoline prices are currently at $3.73, down two cents from a week ago, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report


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