Oil futures drop 7% to settle at lowest in more than 2 weeks

Oil futures ended sharply lower on Thursday, with the slow vaccine rollout in Europe feeding concerns over the pace of recovery in energy demand and rising tensions between the U.S. and Russia pushing prices to their lowest settlement in over two weeks. “There are growing concerns about demand in light of the fact that several large European economies have halted the distribution of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine,” said David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK. Tensions between the U.S. and Russia, meanwhile, have led to worries that Russia may use oil as a weapon, potentially hurting U.S. shale producers by flooding the market with oil, according to Phillip Streible, chief market strategist at Blue Line Futures. April West Texas Intermediate crude

fell $4.60, or 7.1%, to settle at $60 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest front-month contract close since March 2, FactSet data show. Prices suffered their largest one-day percentage loss since September.

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