Oil prices fall for fourth session ahead of busy Memorial Day travel weekend

Stephen Strathdee | Getty Images

Crude oil futures fell for the fourth-consecutive session Thursday ahead of the busy Memorial Day travel weekend.

U.S. crude oil is down 4% for the week while Brent, the global benchmark, has fallen 3.3%.

Here are today's energy prices:

  • West Texas Intermediate July contract: $76.69 a barrel, down 83 cents, or 1.07%. Year to date, U.S. crude oil is up 7%.
  • Brent July contract: $81.17 a barrel, down 73 cents, or 0.89%. Year to date, the global benchmark is up about about 5%.
  • RBOB Gasoline June contract: $2.46 per gallon, down 0.11%. Year to date, gasoline futures are up 17%.
  • Natural Gas June contract: $2.68 per thousand cubic feet, down nearly 6%. Year to date, natural gas is up 6.5%.

Oil prices have been stuck in a $3 range since their April highs as fears of a wider war in the Middle East ease and traders shift their focus back to basic supply and demand.

Prices have struggled to break out this month with investors remaining cautious that higher-for-longer interest rates could slow the U.S. economy and weigh on oil demand, according to Giovanni Staunovo, a commodity analyst at UBS.

Traders are also worried about a buildup in global oil inventories after a mild winter in parts of the Northern Hemisphere, Staunovo told clients in a note Thursday.

Nevertheless, UBS sees the oil market in a deficit and is forecasting Brent will rise to $91 per barrel in coming months. The bank also sees healthy demand growth of 1.5 million barrels per day in 2024, above the long-term growth rate of 1.2 million barrels per day.

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