Vanishing demand and a glut of supply have combined to heavily impact the US benchmark fuel, with prices dropping from $18.27 to below $0 on Monday – down 99.95 percent from the previous day’s close and the first time the oil futures contract has ever traded in the negative.
The collapse in oil markets comes amid a generalized economic downturn, with the coronavirus pandemic plunging most of the world’s economies into a downward spiral many believe will be the deepest since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Global oil storage is currently reaching its limits, and while OPEC recently secured a 9.7 million barrel per day cut in production, the US Department of Energy is nevertheless weighing the idea of paying domestic producers to simply leave the oil in the ground so as not to further depress prices.
— Bloomberg (@business) April 20, 2020
With May’s futures contracts set to expire on Tuesday, investors are scrambling to unload their positions, eyeing the already-glutted market and concerned about being left with a valueless commodity.