The sharp fall of WTI oil prices – Weekly recap 15-19 August

Crude oil prices started the week with very sharp rises that countered the sharp falls from the previous week, but soon after these rises changed again to steep declines. The concerns of a recession in the US and Europe might have stimulated the sharp falls in the US stock markets; the crude oil market soon followed and registered very sharp declines. The reaction of WTI oil price to the falls in the US stock market seems to be much stronger than the reaction of Brent oil was as the gap between the two oil prices grew to all time highs during the week. By the end of the week, Brent oil price inclined by 0.59%, but WTI spot oil fell by 6.4%, resulting in the spread between Brent oil and WTI oil reaching $27.27/b on Friday. 

 Let’s review the changes during last week (August 15th to August 19th) of crude oil prices (Brent oil and WTI), and present a summary of the recent EIA petroleum report:

Crude oil prices – highlights


table crude spot oil prices - 15-19  August  2011

WTI spot oil price sharply declined during last week by 6.4%; on the other hand, its weekly average price rose by 3% as it reached $85.35 per barrel, compared with last week’s $82.86 per barrel. The average daily percent change of crude oil price (WTI) was -0.65%.

 NYMEX Futures Price (September delivery) fell by 6.4% during the week, and reached $82.26/b on Friday, August 19th.

Brent spot oil price on the other hand slightly inclined by 0.59% during the week and the average price rose by 3.64% compared with previous week’s average.

 The difference between the Brent and WTI spot prices moderately inclined during the week and averaged at $23.79; it finished the week at $27.27.

Crude oil charts

The following chart shows last week’s trend of (week ending on August 19th) WTI spot oil price, NYMEX Futures Prices (September delivery) and Europe Brent spot oil price:

In the chart, Brent spot oil price didn’t change much during the week, while WTI spot oil had a downward slope mainly during the second part of the week.  


Crude spot oil prices WTI BRENT charts -  15-19 August  2011

The second chart shows the daily percent changes (i.e. changes around the trend) of crude oil price (WTI spot oil, WTI future, Brent spot oil):



Crude spot oil price chart WTI Brent oil - percent change  15-19 August  2011

As seen above, Brent oil price moderately inclined during most of the week except on Thursday, August 18th – the day when the European and U.S. stock markets sharply fell; WTI spot oil price on the other hand, demonstrated much more volatility as it started the week with rises on Monday, followed with falls on Thursday and Friday.

 Petroleum Stocks –highlights:

According to the recent EIA report of the US oil market, for the week ending on August 12th, U.S. Petroleum stocks slightly declined by 1.37 million barrels; this is the third straight week the crude oil stockpiles have fallen. It reached 1,795 million barrels.

The chart below shows the petroleum and oil stockpiles levels compared to the WTI oil prices during 2010 and 2011.

Weekly U.S. Ending Stocks Crude Oil and WTI spot oil price 2011 August 18

For the complete petroleum stocks review see here.


 For further reading:

Previous issues of weekly report: