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Oil hits skids, drops 7% on worsening outlook for
coronavirus in Europe
Oil prices plunged for a fifth day in a row on Thursday, posting their biggest-one day declines since last
summer on growing worries about rising Covid cases in Europe and the strengthening US dollar
By Scott DiSavino
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices plunged for a fifth day in a row on Thursday, posting their biggest-one day
declines since last summer on growing worries about rising COVID-19 cases in Europe and the strengthening U.S.
Several large European economies have had to reimpose lockdowns as caseloads rise, while vaccination
programs are slowing due to concerns about side effects of the AstraZeneca vaccine that was being widely
distributed in Europe.
U.S. heating oil and gasoline also both fell more than 5%.
"A best-case scenario for demand recovery had been priced into this market. Everyone was celebrating the
vaccine rollout and reduced restrictions," said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York.
"Now in Europe, it's gone off the rails almost completely. Lockdowns in Poland and Italy strike at the heart of this
whole demand recovery narrative and thesis that pumped up prices."
Brent futures dropped $4.72, or 6.9%, to settle at $63.28 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas International (WTI) crude
fell $4.60, or 7.1%, to settle at $60.
Both contracts are down more than 11% since hitting recent highs on March 8. The five-day losing streak is the
longest for WTI since February 2020 and for Brent since September 2020. It comes after speculators built the
largest long position in CME-traded U.S. crude futures and options since 2018.