NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices tumbled about 6% to a four-week low on Friday on worries that interest rate hikes by major central banks could slow the global economy and cut demand for energy.
Also pressuring prices, the U.S. dollar this week rose to its highest level since December 2002 against a basket of currencies, making oil more expensive for buyers using other currencies.
Brent futures fell $6.69, or 5.6%, to settle at $113.12 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell $8.03, or 6.8%, to settle at $109.56.
That was the lowest close for Brent since May 20 and the lowest for WTI since May 12. It was also the biggest daily percentage decline for Brent since early May and the biggest for WTI since late March.
For the week, Brent futures declined for the first time in five weeks, while WTI dropped for the first time in eight weeks.
There will be no U.S. trading on Monday, the Juneteenth holiday.
“Crude prices tumbled as the dollar rallied, Russia signaled oil exports should increase, and as global recession fears grow,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at data and analytics firm OANDA.
Global central bankers who quickly loosened monetary policy during the pandemic to avoid a recession, are now tightening to fight inflation.
The Federal Reserve this week hiked U.S. rates by the most in more than a quarter of a century.
“With the central banks making pretty substantial moves to limit growth via interest rate hikes and monetary tightening is showing up here in the petroleum complex,” said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York, noting that slower economic growth should cut energy demand.