Oil drops below $1 a barrel; lowest level in history

U.S. crude oil prices plunged to their lowest level in history, below $1 a barrel, due to an historic slump in demand from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Oil below $1 a barrel. Image: COVID-19Eustance Huang and Pippa Stevens for CNBC:

U.S. crude prices plunged to their lowest level in history as traders continue to fret over a slump in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic. The price of the nearest oil futures contract, which expires Tuesday, was the hardest hit, detaching from later month futures contracts with a drop of more than 90%. This suggests that some believe there could be a recovery later in the year.

“There is still a lot of crude on the water right now that is going to refineries that do not need it,” Helima Croft, global head of commodities strategy at RBC Capital, said Monday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box”. “Right now we don’t see any near-term relief for this oil market … we remain really concerned for the outlook on oil near-term,” she added.

The coronavirus pandemic has dealt a severe blow to economic activity around the globe and sapped demand for oil. While OPEC and its oil-producing allies finalized a historic agreement earlier this month to cut production by 9.7 million barrels per day beginning May 1, many argue that it still won’t be enough to counter the fall-off in demand.

MacDailyNews Take: Oil drops below $1 a barrel. Well, at least we live in interesting times.


  1. This is old news. At this writing, the current price for May futures is below $0.00/barrel, which means paying somebody to take the stuff off your hands. States like Texas with economies that rely on energy prices staying above the cost of production are going to be hurt more by this than directly by the virus. Our state budget for next fiscal year assumed prices around $50/barrel.

    1. I douht it as that basically affects transportation costs. The oil that was used to make plastics and other thing was bought many months ago. The current pricing of oil will probably last only for a short time so it will not flow into the cost of the products themselves.

      1. @RichEM: one of the most naive comments about the oil reality I’ve read.

        “Transportation only, already priced in and short time” reality. I hope people aren’t fixing their horizons on your words.

  2. “a” historic – not “an” historic. “an” should only be used when the “h” is silent, as in “an honor”. It’s one of my language crusades 🙂

    1. Go to the dictionary on your Mac. Look up ‘historic’ and click on the grey usage box about halfway down the page. Either indefinite article is correct.

    2. If you sound the “H” it is “a historic.” If you elide it, it is “an ‘istoric.” Because the accent is on the second syllable, about a third of printed instances use “an,” while the majority use “a.” In parts of England, dropping “aiches” is a class marker (see My Fair Lady). In much of Australia, sounding “haiches” is hoity-toity.

      Particularly in America, where the H in “historic” is sounded in modern speech, “a” is preferred. A century or so ago, when the H was often silent in “historic” and “hotel,” as they are loan words from French, where the initial H is silent, “an” was more common.

        1. Occasionally, the idea of the possessive is indicated by the use of both an of-phase and ‘s. Archaic English….from a book written by two Texan’s (Ironic)….

          OPEC, Russia, and Texas are corrupt and in time will need something other than oil for income.

  3. Ever gas station is LA is still charging at least $3 a gallon except Costco which was 2.29 yesterday.

    Ever wonder why gas goes up so fast (overnight) and when it comes down it takes weeks or months if ever?

    Because it is a conspiracy. If you think its just the market conditions, your an idiot with a capital I.

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