Business, Economics and Jobs

Crude oil futures fall 17% in May, worst monthly performance since December 2008


An oil trader works on the floor of the New York Mercantile Exchange.


Justin Sullivan

Crude oil futures fell to a fresh seven-month low today and finished the month of May down 17 percent – its worst monthly performance since December 2008 – as disappointing US economic data added to concerns about the euro zone crisis.

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According to MarketWatch, oil for July delivery fell $1.29, or 1.5 percent, to $86.53 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Investors fretted that the US economy was not growing as fast as many had hoped after the government downgraded first-quarter economic growth to 1.9 percent from 2.2 percent and jobless claims rose to a five-week high, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The US Energy Department also released data showing inventories of crude oil were at a 22-year high, Bloomberg noted.

"Those are some poor headlines," independent analyst and trader Stephen Schork was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.

"It's hard to say how much lower oil can go."

Slowing economic growth in China, the world’s second-largest oil guzzler, has exacerbated concerns about falling demand for crude.

Oil prices fell more than three percent Wednesday, tracking declines in global financial markets and the euro, on fears Spain’s banking crisis could spread to the rest of Europe.

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Investors are also jittery about Greece’s future in the euro zone after a new poll showed a radical leftist anti-bailout party was in the lead ahead of next month’s election.