Crude Continues Its Slide

With US crude oil stocks showing a large uptick, NYMEX crude futures took a significant hit today, closing below $80 for the first time since March. Falling from yesterday's close of $82.74, crude shed another 3% of its value to close down $2.77 at $79.97.

Over the course of the last two trading days, NYMEX crude oil prices have dropped $6.22 from $86.19 to $79.97. That represents one of the 30 largest two-day declines in the history of NYMEX crude (most of which occurred in the fall of 2008). That is the largest two-day decline since the market shed $6.25 to reach $56.16 in the two-day period from November 10th through 12th of 2008.

The Energy Information Administration reported today that crude stocks in Cushing grew to 36.2 million barrels for the week ending April 30th, a 1.6 million barrel increase from the previous week. This represents a record level for crude stocks held at Cushing.

In addition to the significant build in oil stocks, commodity prices in general were hit as the value of the US dollar increased relative to other currencies, particularly the Euro. Concerns over debt problems in the European Union nations of Greece, Spain and Portugal helped to drive the dollar up, which in turn roiled US stock markets and pushed commodity prices down.

Natural gas prices also dipped slightly today, falling two cents to close at $3.99.