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Oil Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Record High With Huge Plunge

Oil Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Record High With Huge Plunge

  • WTI crude is worth less than half of its July 2008 peak
  • Economic concerns still compete with supply constraints
Trade War Sends Ripple Effects Through Oil Market

A decade ago, oil hit an all-time high in New York. What better way to celebrate than with a massive selloff?

On July 11, 2008, West Texas Intermediate crude touched $147.27 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on concern Israel was preparing to attack Iran’s nuclear program and amid supply disruptions from Brazil to Nigeria. That overshadowed economic worries, including the lowest consumer confidence since 1980. At the same time, the dollar was near an all-time low against the euro.

A Decade's Worth of Difference

On Wednesday, it was the opposite story, as economic worries trumped supply disruptions. WTI plunged 5 percent to just above $70 a barrel on concerns that an escalating trade war between the U.S. and China will threaten global economic growth and as Libyan crude exports increased. That overshadowed the biggest drop in U.S. stockpiles in two years and forecasts for lower supply from Venezuela and Iran amid U.S. sanctions. The Bloomberg dollar spot index is 30 percent higher than in 2008.