Oil Chaos Deepens, Drags Markets Down

'There is so much oil sloshing around the world and so few people using it'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2020 3:49 PM CDT
Oil Collapse Drags Stocks Down
A tanker truck passes the Chevron oil refinery in Richmond, Calif.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

Oil's chaotic collapse deepened, and stocks around the world dropped on Tuesday as the economic carnage caused by the coronavirus pandemic turned markets upside down. The S&P 500 closed down 3% Tuesday, its second straight loss. Markets across Europe and Asia had similar drops. Oil prices crumbled again amid sagging demand as planes remain parked, cars garaged, and factories shut down, the AP reports. Meanwhile, storage tanks for all the excess crude are getting filled close to their limits. Treasury yields fell, meaning investors are willing to get paid even less to get the safety of owning US government bonds. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 631 points to 23,018.

In the US, the cost for a barrel of oil to be delivered in June plunged 43% to $11.57. That’s the part of the market that US oil traders are focused on and trading most actively. For oil to be delivered next month, which is when storage tanks could top out, the cost of a barrel stood at $10.01. A day earlier, it fell below zero for the first time. "The supply-and-demand balance for oil is so out of whack that global demand cannot grow fast enough and suppliers can’t cut supply quickly enough to put things back in order," Frank Verrastro of the Center for Strategic and International Studies tells the Washington Post. "There is so much oil sloshing around the world and so few people using it that there is no remedy. Even President’s Trump toolbox looks bare." (Read more Dow Jones stories.)

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