Crude oil prices turned lower again on Monday morning, dropping below $50 per barrel again, following the direction of U.S. stocks. Oil continued its volatile movement, giving back its gains from Friday.
Light sweet crude for May delivery fell to $49.12, down $3.12 for the session. Prices touched as low as $48.86 after hitting as high as $52.15 in overnight deals.
Crude had surged $2.79 on Friday as rising stock markets fueled hopes for improved energy demand. The rally helped oil pare losses from earlier in the week. Oil closed a choppy week up 29 cents
Last Wednesday, Energy Information Administration data revealed U.S. commercial crude oil inventories increased 1.7 million barrels from the previous week. Economists were looking for a build in inventories of about 2.3 million barrels in the week ended April 3.
Total motor gasoline inventories increased 600,000 barrels last week. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 3.4 million barrels and propane/propylene inventories increased last week by 1.3 million barrels.
Monday's trading is expected to remain subdued, with European markets closed along with a number of Asian markets. US traders may trickle back to their desks following the Easter break, but with no first-tier economic data on tap until Tuesday, big currency moves are unlikely.
Corporate news is likely to remain in focus with traders mulling the latest batch of earnings reports. Meanwhile, the Treasury Department is directing General Motors (GM) to prepare for a bankruptcy filing by a June 1 deadline, the New York Times reported, citing unidentified people with knowledge of the plans.
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