New York: Crude oil fell in New York to the lowest level in two weeks on speculation demand from Japan may decline after the 8.9-magnitude earthquake devastated the world’s third-largest economy.
Prices tumbled 4.5% in five days of losses, the longest losing streak in a month, as the quake that hit the country on 11 March shut 29% of domestic refining capacity, according to Bloomberg calculations based on Petroleum Association of Japan data.
“You are taking demand from the third largest economy out of the market and oil is responding negatively,” said Tom Bentz, a broker with BNP Paribas Commodity Futures Ltd in New York.
The short-term trend still looks to be lower. The next support area is somewhere around $96.
Oil for April delivery fell 48 cents, or 0.5%, to $100.68 per barrel at 10.07am on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures touched $98.47, the lowest intraday price since 1 March. Crude is up 24% from a year ago.
Brent oil for April settlement gained 1 cent to $113.85 per barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
More than 10,000 people in Japan may have been killed by the quake. Canon Inc., Sony Corp. and Nippon Steel Corp. have halted some manufacturing operations.